Cara Magnabosco

Professor für Geobiologie

ETHZ Department of Earth Sciences

NO E5; Sonneggstrasse 58092 Zürich, Switzerland+41 44 632 36 71

cmagnabosco [at] ethz [dot] ch


  • Spring 2021: I'm excited to announce that I'll be teaching a new course, Machine Learning for Geobiology, at ETH this spring!

  • December 2020: Had a lot of fun learning more about the Bedretto Lab and sharing our latest results on the "Biogeochemical survey of BULGG waters".

  • November 2020: Greatly enjoyed (virtually) visiting the ETH Institute of Food, Nutrition and Health and speaking about "How gut commensals can teach us about the emergence of microbial lineages".

  • November 2020: Greatly enjoyed my (virtual) visit to the Universität Bern Erdwissenschaftliches Kolloquium!

  • November 6, 2020: Greatly enjoyed my first Swiss Geoscience Meeting and speaking about how "Microbial Genomes Encode the History of a Changing Planet" in the plenary session!

  • October 29, 2020: It was my great pleasure to give my inaugural lecture at ETH today!

older announcements...

Research Interests

My research focuses on developing computational methods to better understand microbial systems. I am especially interested in microbial evolution throughout Earth’s history and their interactions in the modern world.


Peer Reviewed Publications

A genomic catalogue of Earth’s Microbiomes.

Nayfach S. et al. (incl. Magnabosco as member of IMG/M Data Consortium). Nature Biotechnology. (2020)

Distinct Polysaccharide Utilization Profiles of Human Intestinal Prevotella copri Isolates.

H. Fehlner-Peach, C. Magnabosco, V. Raghavan, J.U. Scher, A. Tett, L.M. Cox, C. Gottsegen, A. Watters, J.D. Wiltshire-Gordon, N. Segata, R. Bonneau, and D. R. Littman. Cell Host & Microbe. (2019)

The Prevotella copri complex comprises four distinct clades underrepresented in Westernized populations.

A. Tett, K.D. Huang, F. Asnicar, H. Fehlner-Peach, E. Pasolli, N. Karcher, F. Armanini, P. Manghi, K. Bonham, M. Zolfo, F. De Filippis, C. Magnabosco, R. Bonneau, J. Lusingu, J. Amuasi, K. Reinhard, T. Rattei, F. Boulund, L. Engstrand, A. Zink, M. Carmen Collado, D.R. Littman, D. Eibach, D. Ercolini, O. Rota-Stabelli, C. Huttenhower, F. Maixner, and N. Segata. Cell Host & Microbe (2019)

An expanded ribosomal phylogeny of Cyanobacteria supports a deep placement of plastids.

K.R. Moore, C. Magnabosco, L. Momper, D.A. Gold, T. Bosak, and G.P. Fournier. Frontiers in Microbiology. (2019)

New ecosystems in the deep subsurface follow the flow of water driven by geological activity.

G. Borgonie, C. Magnabosco, A. García-Moyano, B. Linage-Alvarez, A.O. Ojo, L.B. Freese, C. Van Jaarsveld, C. Van Rooyen, O. Kuloyo, E.D. Cason, J. Vermeulen, C. Pienaar, E. Van Heerden, B. Sherwood Lollar, T. C. Onstott, and S.O.C. Mundle. Scientific Reports. (2019)

The biomass and biodiversity of the continental subsurface.

C. Magnabosco, L.-H. Lin, H. Dong, M. Bomberg, W. Ghiorse, H. Stan-Lotter, K. Pedersen, T.L. Kieft, E. van Heerden, and T.C. Onstott. Nature Geoscience. (2018)

South African crustal fracture fluids preserve paleometeoric water signatures for up to tens of millions of years.

A.H. Heard, O. Warr, G. Borgonie, B. Linage, O. Kuloyo, J.W. Fellowes, C. Magnabosco, M.C.Y. Lau, M. Erasmus, E.D. Cason, E. van Heerden, T.L. Kieft, J. Mabry, T.C. Onstott, B. Sherwood Lollar, and C.J. Ballentine. Chemical Geology. (2018)

Fluctuations in populations of subsurface methane oxidizers in coordination with changes in electron acceptor availability.

C. Magnabosco, P.H.A. Timmers, M.C.Y. Lau, G. Borgonie, B. Linage-Alvarez, O. Kuloyo, R. Alleva, T.L. Kieft, G.F. Slater, E. van Heerden, B. Sherwood Lollar, T.C. Onstott. FEMS Microbiology Ecology. (2018)

Dating phototrophic microbial lineages with reticulate gene histories.

C. Magnabosco, K.R. Moore, J.M. Wolfe, G.P. Fournier. Geobiology. (2018)

The relative abundances of resolved 12CH2D2 and 13CH3D and mechanisms controlling isotopic bond ordering in abiotic and biotic methane gases.

E.D. Young, I.E. Kohl, B. Sherwood Lollar, G. Etiope, D. Rumble III, S. Li, M.A. Haghnegahdar, E.A. Schauble, K.A. McCain, D.I. Foustoukos, C. Sutclife, O. Warr, C.J. Ballentine, T.C. Onstott, H. Hosgormez, A. Neubeck, J.M. Marques, I. Pérez-Rodríguez, A.R. Rowe, D.E. LaRowe, C. Magnabosco, L.Y. Yeung, J.L. Ash, L.T. Bryndzia. Geochemica et Cosmochimica Acta. (2017)

An oligotrophic deep-subsurface community dependent on syntrophy is dominated by sulfur-driven autotrophic denitrifiers.

M.C.Y. Lau, T.L. Kieft, O. Kuloyo, B. Linage-Alvarez, E. van Heerden, M.R. Lindsay, C. Magnabosco, W. Wang, J.B. Wiggins, L. Guo, D.H. Perlman, S. Kyin, H.H. Shwe, R.L. Harris, Y. Oh, M.J. Yi, R. Purtschert, G.F. Slater, S. Ono, S. Wei, L. Li, B. Sherwood Lollar, T.C. Onstott. PNAS. (2016)

A metagenomic window into carbon metabolism at 3 km depth in Precambrian continental crust.

C. Magnabosco, K. Ryan, M.C.Y. Lau, O. Kuloyo, B. Sherwood Lollar, T.L. Kieft, E. van Heerden, T.C. Onstott. ISMEJ. (2016)

Variations in microbial carbon sources and cycling in the deep continental subsurface.

D.N. Simkus, G.F. Slater, B. Sherwood Lollar, K. Wilkie, T.L. Kieft, C. Magnabosco, M.C.Y. Lau, M.J. Pullin, S.B. Hendrickson, K.E. Wommack, E.G.Sakowski, E. van Heerden, O. Kuloyo, B. Linage, G. Borgonie, T.C. Onstott. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. (2015)

Permeability model of tight reservoir sandstones combining core-plug and Miniperm analysis of drill core; Longyearbyen CO2 Lab, Svalbard.

C. Magnabosco, A. Braathen, K. Ogata. Norwegian Journal of Geology 94 (2014): 189-200.

Comparisons of the composition and biogeographic distribution of the bacterial communities occupying South African thermal springs with those inhabiting deep subsurface fracture water.

C. Magnabosco, M. Tekere, M.C.Y. Lau, B. Linage, O. Kuloyo, M. Erasmus, E. Cason, E. van Heerden, G. Borgonie, T.L. Kieft, J. Olivier, T.C. Onstott. Frontiers in Extreme Microbiology 5 (2014): 679.

Phylogeny and phylogeography of functional genes shared among seven terrestrial subsurface metagenomes reveal N-cycling and microbial evolutionary relationships.

M.C.Y. Lau, C. Cameron, C. Magnabosco, C.T. Brown, F. Schilkey, S. Grim, S. Hendrickson, M. Pullin, B. Sherwood Lollar, E. van Heerden, T.L. Kieft, and T.C. Onstott. Frontiers in Extreme Microbiology 5 (2014): 531.

Does aspartic acid racemization constrain the depth limit of the subsurface biosphere?

T.C. Onstott, C. Magnabosco, A.D. Aubrey, A.S. Burton, J.P. Dworkin, J.E. Elsila, S. Grunsfeld, B.H. Cao, J.E. Hein, D.P. Glavin, T.L. Kieft, B.J. Silver, T.J. Phelps, E. van Heerden, D.J. Opperman, and J.L. Bada. Geobiology 12.1 (2014): 1-19.

Denitrification and nitrogen fixation dynamics in the area surrounding an individual ghost shrimp (Neotrypaea californiensis) burrow system.

V.J. Bertics, J.A. Sohm, C. Magnabosco, and W. Ziebis. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 78.11 (2012): 3864-3872.


From Genes to Metagenomes: Exploring life underground.

C. Magnabosco

Princeton University, 2016

A Characterization of the Biology and Nutrient Cycling of Two Glacial Lakes in Isfjord Radio, Svalbard.

C. Magnabosco

University of Southern California, 2011

Book Chapters, etc.

Biogeography, Ecology, and Evolution of Deep Life.

C. Magnabosco, J.F. Biddle, C.S. Cockell, S.P. Jungbluth, K.I. Twing. In B. Orcutt, I. Daniel, & R. Dasgupta (Eds.) Deep Carbon: Past to Present. Cambridge University Press (2019): 524-555