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Douglas LaRowe

Assistant Professor (Research) of Earth Sciences

Contact Information
Phone: (213) 821-2268
Office: ACB 303

Curriculum Vitae
Personal Website


Ph.D. Earth and Planetary Science, University of California, Berkeley, 5/2005
B.A. Earth and Planetary Sciences, Washington University in St. Louis, 5/1998

Postdoctoral Training

Postdoc, Utrecht University , 06/2006-12/2010  

Academic Appointment, Affiliation, and Employment History

Research Scientist, Georgia Institute of Technology, 08/2008-05/2011  

Description of Research

Summary Statement of Research Interests

The goal of my research is to develop quantitative tools for describing interactions between microorganisms and their geochemical environments. The approaches I take towards this end include determining the amount of energy microbes obtain from metabolic reactions in situ, developing thermodynamic databases that describe biomolecules as a function of temperature and pressure, improving kinetic representations of metabolic rates in natural settings, especially organic matter degradation, and the implementation of these models and data into reaction transport models. In addition to working towards understanding how microbes, minerals, aqueous fluids and gases interact, my work can also be used to explore the origin and early evolution of life and to aid the search for life beyond earth.

Research Keywords

biogeochemistry, bioenergetics, organic matter, thermodynamics, origin and early evolution of life


Book Chapter

Takai, K., Nakamura, K., LaRowe, D. E., Amend, J. P. (2014). Life under subseafloor extremes. Earth and Life Processes Discovered from Subseaflo (Vol. 7). pp. 149-174.
LaRowe, D. E., Amend, J. P. (2014). Energetic constraints on life in marine deep sediments. Life in Extreme Environments: Microbial Life in th pp. 279-302. Berlin: De Gruyter.

Journal Article

Reese, B. K., Sobol, M., Zinke, L., LaRowe, D. E., Zhang, X. X., Jaekel, U., Wang, F., Orcutt, B., Mills, H., Amend, J., Edwards, K., Girguis, P. (2016). Structure and function of active and dormant microorganisms within oligotrophic Mid-Atlantic Ridge flank sediment. Frontiers in Extreme Microbiology. pp. in revision.
Sylvan, J., Wankel, S., LaRowe, D. E., Charoenpong, C. N., Huber, J. A., Moyer, C. L., Edwards, K. J. (2016). Microbes mediate subseafloor nitrogen redox processes at Loihi Seamount, Hawaii. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta. pp. in review.
McKay, L., Klokman, V., Mendlovitz, H., LaRowe, D. E., Hoer, D., Albert, D., de Beer, D., Amend, J. P., Teske, A. (2016). Thermal and geochemical influences of microbial biogeography in the hydrothermal sediments of Guaymas Basin, Gulf of California. Environmental Microbiology Reports. Vol. 8, pp. 150-161.
LaRowe, D. E., Amend, J. P. (2016). The energetics of anabolism in natural settings. ISME J. pp. in press.
Robador, A., LaRowe, D. E., Jungbluth, S., Rappe, M., Nealson, K., Amend, J. (2016). Nanocalorimetric characterization of microbial activity in deep subsurface oceanic crustal fluids. Frontiers in Extreme Microbiology. (7), pp. Article 454.
LaRowe, D. E., Amend, J. (2015). Power limits for microbial life. Frontiers in Extreme Microbiology. pp. Article 718 doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2015.00718.
LaRowe, D. E., Amend, J. P. (2015). Catabolic rates, population sizes and doubling/replacement times of microorganisms in natural settings. American Journal of Science. Vol. 315, pp. 167-203.
Robador, A., Jungbluth, S. P., LaRowe, D. E., Bowers, R. M., Lin, H., Rappe, M. S., Amend, J. P., Cowen, J. (2015). Activity and phylogenetic diversity of sulfate-reducing microorganisms in low-temperature subsurface fluids within the upper oceanic crust. Frontiers in Extreme Microbiology. pp. Article 748, doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2014.00748.
Huei-Ting, L., Amend, J., LaRowe, D. E., Bingham, J., Cowen, J. (2015). Dissolved amino acids in oceanic basaltic basement fluids. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta. Vol. 164, pp. 175-190.
Price, R. E., LaRowe, D. E., Italiano, F., Savov, I., Pichler, T., Amend, J. (2015). Subsurface hydrothermal processes and the bioenergetics of chemolithoautotrophy at the shallow-sea vents off Panarea Island (Italy). Chemical Geology. Vol. 407-408, pp. 21-45.
LaRowe, D. E., Dale, A. W., Aguilera, D. R., L'Heureux, I., Amend, J. P., Regnier, P. (2014). Modeling microbial reaction rates in a submarine hydrothermal vent chimney wall. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta. Vol. 124, pp. 72-97.
Marlow, J., LaRowe, D. E., Ehlmann, B. L., Amend, J. P., Orphan, V. (2014). The Potential for Biologically Catalyzed Anaerobic Methane Oxidation on Ancient Mars. Astrobiology. Vol. 14, pp. DOI: 10.1089/ast.2013.1078.
Orcutt, B. N., LaRowe, D. E., Lloyd, K. G., Mills, H., Orsi, W., Reese, B. K., Sauvage, J., Huber, J., Amend, J. P. (2014). IODP deep biosphere research workshop report – A synthesis of recent investigations, and discussion of new research questions and drilling targets. Scientific Drilling. Vol. 17, pp. 61-66.
Hernandez-Sanchez, M. T., LaRowe, D. E., Deng, F., Homoky, W. B., Browning, T., Pabortsava, K., Henderson, G., Mills, R. A., Pancost, R. D. (2014). Further insights into how sediment redox status controls the preservation and composition of sedimentary organic biomarkers. Organic Geochemistry. Vol. 76, pp. 220-234.
Teske, A. P., Callaghan, A. V., LaRowe, D. E. (2014). Biosphere Frontiers: Deep Life in the sedimented hydrothermal system of Guaymas Basin. Frontiers in Extreme Microbiology. Vol. 5 (362), pp. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2014.00362.
Osburn, M. R., LaRowe, D. E., Momper, L., Amend, J. P. (2014). Chemolithotrophy in the continental deep subsurface: Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF), USA. Frontiers in Extreme Microbiology. Vol. 5, pp. Article 610.
Arndt, S., Jørgensen, B. B., LaRowe, D. E., Middelburg, J. M., Pancost, R. D., Regnier, P. (2013). Quantifying the degradation of organic matter in marine sediments: A review and synthesis. Earth Sci. Rev.. Vol. 123, pp. 53-86.
Amend, J. P., LaRowe, D. E., McCollom, T. M., Shock, E. L. (2013). The energetics of organic synthesis inside and outside the cell. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. Vol. 368, pp. 1-15.
Regnier, P., Friedlingstein, P., Ciasis, P., Mackenzie, F. T., Gruber, N., Janssens, I., Laruelle, G. G., Lauerwald, R., Andersson, A. J., Arndt, S., Arnosti, C., Borges, A. V., Dale, A. W., Galego-Sala, A., Godderis, Y., Hartmann, J., Heinze, C., Ilyiana, C., Joos, F., LaRowe, D. E., Leifeld, J., Meysman, F. J., Munhoven, G., Raymond, P. A., Spahni, R., Suntharalingham, P., Thullner, M. (2013). Anthropogenic perturbation of the carbon fluxes from land to ocean. Nature Geoscience. pp. DOI: 10.1038/NGEO1830.
Orcutt, B. N., LaRowe, D. E., Biddle, J. F., Cowell, F., Kirkpatrick, J. B., Lapham, L., Mills, H., Reese, B., Sylvan, J., Wankel, S. (2013). Microbial activity in the marine deep biosphere: Progress and prospects. Frontiers in Extreme Microbiology. Vol. 4, pp. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2013.00189.
LaRowe, D. E., Dick, J. M. (2012). Calculation of the standard molal thermodynamic properties of crystalline peptides. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta,. Vol. 80, pp. 70-91.
LaRowe, D. E., Dale, A. W., Amend, J. P., Van Cappellen, P. (2012). Thermodynamic limitations on microbially catalyzed reaction rates. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta. Vol. 90, pp. 96-109.
Nielsen, S. G., Goff, H., Hesselbo, S. P., Jenkyns, H. C., LaRowe, D. E., Lee, C. T. (2011). Thallium isotopes in early diagenetic pyrite – A paleoredox proxy?. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta,. Vol. 75, pp. 6690-6704.
LaRowe, D. E., Van Cappellen, P. (2011). Degradation of natural organic matter: A thermodynamic analysis. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta. Vol. 75, pp. 2030-2042.
Regnier, P., Dale, A. W., Arndt, S., LaRowe, D. E., Mogollon, J. M., Van Cappellen, P. (2011). Quantitative analysis of anaeorbic oxidation of methane (AOM) in marine sediments: A modeling perspective. Earth-Science Reviews. Vol. 106, pp. 105-130.
Nielsen, S. G., Mar-Gerrison, S., Gannoun, A., LaRowe, D. E., Klemm, V., Halliday, A. N. (2009). Thallium isotope evidence for a permanent increase in marine organic carbon export in the early Eocene. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett.. Vol. 278, pp. 297-307.
Franiatte, M., Richard, L., Elie, M., Nguyen-Trung, C., Perfetti, E., LaRowe, D. E. (2008). Hydrothermal stability of adenine under controlled fugacities of N. Orig. Life Evol. Bios.. Vol. 38, pp. 139-148.
LaRowe, D. E., Dale, A. W., Regnier, P. (2008). A thermodynamic analysis of the anaerobic oxidation of methane in marine sediments. Geobiology. Vol. 6, pp. 436-449.
LaRowe, D. E., Regnier, P. (2008). Thermodynamic potential for the abiotic synthesis of adenine, cytosine, guanine, thymine, uracil, ribose and deoxyribose in hydrothermal systems. Orig. Life Evol. Bios.. Vol. 38, pp. 383-397.
LaRowe, D. E., Helgeson, H. C. (2007). Quantifying the energetics of metabolic reactions in diverse biogeochemical systems: electron flow and ATP synthesis. Geobiology. Vol. 5, pp. 153-168.
Dick, J. M., LaRowe, D. E., Helgeson, H. C. (2006). Temperature, pressure and electrochemical constraints on protein speciation: Group additivity calculation of the standard molal thermodynamic properties of ionized unfolded proteins. Biogeosciences. Vol. 3, pp. 311-336.
LaRowe, D. E., Helgeson, H. C. (2006). Biomolecules in hydrothermal systems: Calculation of the standard molal thermodynamic properties of nucleic-acid bases, nucleosides, and nucleotides at elevated temperatures and pressures. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta. Vol. 70, pp. 4680-4724.
LaRowe, D. E., LaRowe, D. L., Helgeson, H. C. (2006). The energetics of metabolism in hydrothermal systems: Calculation of the standard molal thermodynamic properties of magnesium-complexed adenosine nucleotides and NAD and NADP at elevated temperature and pressures. Thermochim. Acta. Vol. 448, pp. 82-106.
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