Marine Biogeochemistry

TRION Project


Collaborative Research Project in the Framework of the Trilateral Program of the German Research Foundation

"Stable isotopes of strontium as a new proxy for continental weathering, pedogenesis processes and seawater temperature"

First phase: June 2010 - June 2012
Second phase: June 2013 - May 2016


Helmholtz-Zentrum für Ozeanforschung Kiel (GEOMAR), Germany (Coordination)
AlQuds University, AQU, Palestinian Authority
Geological Survey of Israel, GSI, Israel
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, HUJI, Israel
Graz University of Technology, TU Graz, Austria
Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, CAU, Germany



Identifying the modes of traditional radiogenic strontium isotope ratios (87Sr/86Sr-Norm) and of non-traditional stable strontium isotope fractionation (δ88/86Sr) in continental weathering products as well as in marine calcium carbonate is critical for interpreting the chemical and climatic history of the Earth. Following this approach a group of Palestinian, Israeli and German scientists initiated the TRION project to test the application of paired radiogenic and stable Sr isotopes (87Sr/86Sr*-δ88/86Sr) for their potential to study continental weathering processes and biomineralization pathways as well as to determine the degree of temperature and rate dependent Sr isotope fractionation during the precipitation of organic and inorganic carbonates. This will extend and complete the conventional applications of the radiogenic Sr isotope ratios (87Sr/86Sr-Norm) in the field of the environmental and geosciences. Beyond the scientific goal, the TRION project is expected to contribute to the peace process in the Middle East by actively generating scientific communication, collaboration and sustainable networking among scientists from the Palestinian Authority and Israel. In order to achieve this societal goal TRION project is extended by a program of education and training for a group of joint Palestinian, Israeli and German students, sustainable capacity building and public outreach.


Scientific Goals

The findings (see publications) that there is natural and temperature dependent Sr isotope fractionation indicate that the origin of seawater Sr and its isotope composition is more complex than previously thought. In particular, we have to assume that fractionated Sr from continental sources as well as fractionated Sr from hydrothermal sources together with the temperature dependent Sr isotope fractionation during carbonate precipitation/dissolution exerts control on the paired 87Sr/86Sr*-δ88/86Sr seawater ratios. Concerning the sources of Sr there is neither detailed information about the degree and mechanisms of Sr fractionation in rocks and soils nor in hydrothermal vents at mid ocean ridges. Similar to that the temperature dependency of Sr isotope fractionation of biologically precipitated carbonates and its species dependency are also not constrained and have still to be examined in more detail. All the information is important in order to understand the Sr isotope balance in the ocean and may help to better elucidate the link between continental weathering and atmospheric pCO2.

  1. Determine the mechanisms and degree of Sr isotope fractionation in continental rocks and soils being a major Sr source for the ocean.
  2. Determine the mechanisms and degree of temperature dependent Sr isotope fractionation during the precipitation of organic and inorganic marine carbonates being a major sink for Sr in the ocean.


Prof. Dr. Anton Eisenhauer
(Project Coordinator)
Phone: +49-431-600 2282
Fax: +49-431-600 2928

Isabelle Taubner (PhD)
(Coordination Assistant)
Phone: +49-431-600 2109


TRION home
Individual Project #1
Individual Project #2
Individual Project #3
Individual Project #4
List of participants



August 1st, 2013
Mahmoud AlKhatib starts his research in the framework of TRION II at GEOMAR. 


July 30th, 2013
Press meeting
with Prof. Boaz Lazar (HUJI) and Mahmoud AlKhatib (AQU) at GEOMAR in Kiel, Germany.


July 2013
Start of phase II of TRION.


June 9th - 14th, 2013
PhD student Netta Shalev from the Hebrew University presents her data at the WRI 14, Water-Rock Interaction Symposium in Avignon, France. 


April - July 2013
PhD student Stephanie Schurigt from GEOMAR visited Israel for coral culturing experiments in Jerusalem and Eilat.


March 12th - 21st, 2013
Engineer Ana Kolevica from GEOMAR visits AlQuds University to give an advanced training course on the Agilent Quadrupol mass spectrometer.


Since March 2013
Soil processing training
for Master student from AlQuds University at the GSI. This training includes identification of the soils, soil sampling, grinding and opening of the samples for chemical analyses.


Feb 11th, 2013
Joint soil sampling field trip
between AQU, HUJ, and GSI.


Dec 14th, 2012
Evaluation of TRION II proposal at GEOMAR.


June 2012
First element analyses
with the Quadrupol were successfully carried out on rock samples, brine wastes, water plants and groceries at AQU.


May 2012
First student projects
based on element analyses with the Quadrupol MS have been launched at AQU.


April 5th, 2012
Installation of Quadrupol
at AQU finished. Quadrupol is ready for measurements.


January 11th, 2012
Delivery to Abu Dies
The distributor Agitech delivered the Quadrupol at AlQuds University.


January 8th - 11th, 2012
2nd TRION Workshop
was held in Jerusalem, Israel. Students presented their first results. Analytical procedures and correct statistical treatment of stable Sr isotope data were discussed. Clean lab construction is close to completion as seen during a visit to AlQuds University (AQU).


January 6th, 2012
Customs clearance
Payments were executed (from Germany) to clear all goods from customs ensuring delivery of the Quadrupol without any further undue delays.


November 25th, 2011
Arrival in Israel
The Quadrupol MS Agilent 7500 arrives at Tel Aviv airport, Israel.


September 4th - 10th, 2011
Students training on the ICP-MS
Students from AQU received basic training on the ICP-MS and at the Quadrupol-MS at the HUJ in Jerusalem.


September 9th, 2011
Export license finally granted!
BAFA finally grants the export license for the Quadrupol MS Agilent 7500.


August 18th, 2011
Extraordinary meeting at Goldschmidt conference in Prague, Czech Republic
was initiated to discuss acceleration of Quadrupol delivery to Palestine, scheduling sample exchange among TRION partners for Sr isotope analysis and validation procedures between different analytical methods.


June 20th - 23rd, 2011
Prof. Lazar visit in Kiel, Germany
. Prof. Lazar (HUJI) presented a talk titled “The effect of ocean acidification on growth of coral reefs”. Carbonate and water samples, standards for Sr isotope analysis and Sr spikes were exchanged and preparation procedures discussed.


February 6th - 9th, 2011
1st TRION Workshop
entitled “Alkaline earth trace metal partitioning and isotope fractionation in the Geosciences” was held at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Besides networking between Palestinian, Israeli and German students, post-docs and scientists involved in the TRION project were invited for seminars.


July 4th - 6th, 2010
Kick-off meeting
for the TRION project took place in Jerusalem. The participants included Boaz Lazar, Mutaz AlQutob, Moti Stein, Jonathan Erez, Ludwik Halicz and Anton Eisenhauer.