Special Issue "Biosignatures in Deep Time"

A special issue of Geosciences (ISSN 2076-3263). This special issue belongs to the section "Biogeosciences".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 20 December 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Frédéric Foucher
Guest Editor
CNRS Centre de Biophysique Moléculaire, Rue Charles Sadron, Orléans, France
Interests: exobiology; biosignatures; Raman spectroscopy; Precambrian; Mars; analogues
Dr. Barbara Cavalazzi
Guest Editor
1. Dipartimento di Scienze Biologiche, Geologiche e Ambientali (BiGeA), Alma Mater Studiorum-Università di Bologna, Bologna, Italy
2. Department of Geology, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Interests: geobiology; astrobiology; biosignatures; terrestrial analogues

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Life probably appeared on Earth 4 billion years ago. Unfortunately, studying fossils dating from this time to understand the origin and early evolution of life is hampered by geological and biological processes. In particular, metamorphism, plate tectonics, and crustal recycling are responsible for the degradation or disappearance of most of the oldest fossils. Moreover, when looking back into the past, the presence of large organisms decreases with time, and for most of Earth’s history, the biosphere is only composed of microbes. While the biogenicity of fossilized complex organisms is relatively easy to demonstrate, the biotic origin of microbial remains is less obvious, and even when preserved, morphology alone is generally not sufficient. Demonstrating the biotic origin of microbial remains in deep time must be based on a network of congruent indications, i.e., the detection of several possible biosignatures in agreement with their present and ancient geological context.

This Special Issue focuses on corroborative biosignatures and bio-indicators that allow demonstration of the biogenicity of ancient microbial remains from the kilometer to nanometer scale. We are thus particularly looking for contributions based on correlative multiscalar and multimodal approaches.

Dr. Frédéric Foucher
Dr. Barbara Cavalazzi
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Geosciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Precambrian
  • Microfossils
  • Biosignatures
  • Early life
  • Multiscale approaches
  • Multimodal approaches
  • Correlative microscopy

Related Special Issues

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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