Organic Geochemistry Unit

The Organic Geochemistry Unit (OGU) is an international research group that uses high-end analytical techniques such as gas chromatography mass spectrometry and compound specific light stable isotope mass spectrometry to investigate Earth systems at the molecular level.

We are based within the School of Chemistry at the University of Bristol, one of the largest chemistry departments in the United Kingdom and an internationally recognised centre of excellence in both teaching and research. For regular updates on  publications and other activities, please browse our news section.

The OGU is one of the groups that constitute the Bristol Biogeochemistry Research Centre. We also collaborate with the Cabot Institute.

Cabot Institute logo

For a taste of our research play the Palaeodetectives game or follow our Journal club!

Authored by Professor Richard Evershed with Nicola Temple Sorting the Beef from the Bull to be published on the 25th February 2016.

Small image of the front cover of the book 'Sorting the Beef from the Bull'

We highlight the role of analytical science in uncovering some of the century’s biggest food scams and emphasise the role of food forensics in calling the fraudsters to account. The book is a call to arms for consumers to be informed about good wholesome food and how to avoid those that might mess with it.

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Single-celled marine plants called coccolithophores colouring the water of the Atlantic Ocean bright blue. Photo: Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC

The research we conduct in the Organic Geochemistry Unit aims to develop our understanding of the biogeochemistry of modern-day and ancient environments...

Champagne Pool, Wai-O-Tapu. Photo by macronix on Flickr - used under a Creative Commons licence

"With the suite of instruments and resources the OGU has at its disposal, it is well equipped to conduct research into all aspects of organic geochemistry."


The group laboratories host the NERC Life Sciences Mass Spectrometry Facility (Bristol node), a national facility for the provision of organic and stable isotope ratio mass spectrometry to the UK life sciences community.

Life in the OGU

Students using pipettes to transfer liquids

There is huge potential to study a vast range of exciting areas in chemistry as an undergraduate in the OGU.