Lipids perform functions essential to life and have a variety of structures that are influenced by the organisms and environments that produced them. Lipids tend to resist degradation after cell death, leading to their widespread use as biomarkers in geobiology, though their interpretation is often tricky. Many lipid structures are shared among organisms and function in many geochemical conditions and extremes. I argue it is useful to interpret lipid distributions as a balance of functional necessity and energy cost.
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- Doctoral Dissertation Chemistry 2018