Doug LaRowe

Associate Professor (Research) of Earth Sciences
Pronouns He / Him / His Email Office ACB 303 Office Phone (213) 821-2268

Research & Practice Areas

Geobiology and Geochemistry.


  • 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
    • Postdoc, Utrecht University , 06/2006-12/2010
  • Research, Teaching, Practice, and Clinical Appointments

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

    Research Specialties

    Geobiology and Geochemistry.

  • Book Chapters

    • LaRowe, D. E., Amend, J. P. (2020). Energy limits for life in the subsurface. Deep Carbon: Past to Present pp. 586-619. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    • 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.

    Encyclopedia Article

    • Arndt, S., LaRowe, D. E. (2018). Organic matter degradation and preservation. (White, W.M., Ed.). New York: Encyclopedia of Geochemistry.

    Journal Article

    • Bay, S., Dong, X., Bradley, J., Leung, P., Jirapanjawat, T., Arndt, S., Cook, P., LaRowe, D. E., Nauer, P., Chiri, E., Greening, C. (2021). Trace gas oxidizers are globally dominant and active members of soil biomes. Nature Microbiology. Vol. 6, pp. 246-256.
    • LaRowe, D. E., Carlson, H., Amend, J. (2021). The energetic potential for undiscovered manganese metabolisms in nature. Frontiers in Microbiology. Vol. 12, pp. 636145.
    • Savoie, E., Lanclos, V., Henson, M., Chang, C., Getz, E., LaRowe, D. E., Rappe, M., Thrash, C. (2021). Ecophysiology of the cosmopolitan OM252 bacterioplankton (Gammaproteobacteria). mSystems.
    • Weber, J., Henderson, B., LaRowe, D. E., Goldman, A., Perl, S., Billings, K., Barge, L. (2021). Iron-sulfur minerals drive NAD+ reduction under prebiotic Earth conditions. Astrobiology.
    • Lu, G., LaRowe, D. E., Amend, J. (2021). Bioenergetic potential of hydrothermal systems – a global review. Chemical Geology.
    • LaRowe, D. E., Arndt, S., Bradley, J., Burwicz, E., Dale, A., Amend, J. (2020). Organic carbon and microbial activity in marine sediments on a global scale throughout the Quaternary. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. Vol. 286, pp. 227-247.
    • Nguyen, T. B., Topçuoglu, B. D., Holden, J. F., LaRowe, D. E., Lang, S. Q. (2020). Influence of energy availability on the carbon isotopes of methane and biomarkers during hydrogenotrophic methanogenesis. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. Vol. 271, pp. 212-226.
    • Bradley, J., Arndt, S., Amend, J., Glud, R., Wenzhöfer, F., Burwicz, E., LaRowe, D. E. (2020). Widespread energy limitation in global marine sediments. Science Advances. Vol. 6, pp. eaba0697. 57.
    • LaRowe, D. E., Arndt, S., Bradley, J., Estes, E., Hoarfrost, A., Lang, S., Lloyd, K., Mahmoudi, N., Orsi, W., Shah Walter, S., Steen, A., Zhao, R. (2020). The fate of organic carbon in marine sediments – new insights from recent data and analysis. Earth Science Reviews. Vol. 204, pp. 103-146.
    • Amend, J., Aronson, H., Macalady, J., LaRowe, D. E. (2020). Another chemolithotrophic metabolism missing in nature—sulfur comproportionation. Environmental Microbiology. Vol. 22, pp. 1971-1976.
    • Maltais, T., VanderVelde, D., LaRowe, D. E., Goldman, A., Barge, L. (2020). Reactivity of metabolic intermediates and cofactor stability under early Earth conditions. Orig Life Evol Biosph. Vol., pp. 35-55.
    • Lu, G., LaRowe, D. E., Gilhooly III, W., Druschel, G., Fike, D., Price, R., Amend, J. (2020). Bioenergetic characterization of a shallow-sea hydrothermal vent system: Milos Island, Greece. PLoS ONE. Vol. 15, pp. e0234175.
    • Bradley, J. A., LaRowe, D. E., Amend, J. P. (2019). Survival of the fewest: Microbial dormancy and maintenance in marine sediments through deep time. Geobiology. Vol. 17, pp. 43-59.
    • LaRowe, D. E., Amend, J. P. (2019). The energetics of fermentation in natural settings. Geomicrobiology. Vol. 36, pp. 492-505.
    • Giunta, T., Young, E., Warr, O., Kohl, I., Ash, J., Martini, A., Rumble, D., Pérez-Rodríguez, I., Wasley, M., LaRowe, D. E., Gilbert, A., Sherwood-Lollar, B. (2019). Methane sources and sinks in continental sedimentary systems: New insights from paired clumped isotopologues 13CH3D and 12CH2D2. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. Vol. 245, pp. 327-351.
    • Amend, J. P., LaRowe, D. E. (2019). Mini-Review: Demystifying Microbial Reaction Energetics. Environmental Microbiology. Vol. 21, pp. 3539-3547.
    • Herrmann, A. M., LaRowe, D. E., Plante, A. (2019). Editorial: Environmental Bioenergetics. Frontiers in Environmental Bioenergetics. Vol. 7, pp. 132.
    • Reese, B. K., Zinke, L., Sobol, M., LaRowe, D. E., Zhang, X. X., Jaekel, U., Orcutt, B., Wang, F., Dittmar, T., Deofforey, D., Tully, B., Paytan, A., Sylvan, J., Amend, J., Edwards, K., Girguis, P. (2018). Total and active bacteria within oligotrophic sediment of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge Flank. Geomicrobiology Journal. Vol. 35, pp. 468-483.
    • Bradley, J. A., Amend, J., LaRowe, D. E. (2018). Necromass as a source of energy for microorganisms in marine sediments. JGR Biogeoscience. Vol. 123, pp. 577-590.
    • Robador, A., LaRowe, D. E., Finkel, S. E., Nealson, K., Amend, J. (2018). Changes in microbial energy metabolism measured by nanocalorimetry during growth phase transitions. Vol. 9, pp. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2018.00109.
    • Bradley, J. A., Amend, J. P., LaRowe, D. E. (2018). Bioenergetic controls on microbial ecophysiology in marine sediments. Frontiers in Extreme Microbiology. Vol. 9, pp. Art. 180.
    • Sylvan, J., Wankel, S., LaRowe, D. E., Charoenpong, C. N., Huber, J. A., Moyer, C. L., Edwards, K. J. (2017). Evidence for microbial mediation of subseafloor nitrogen redox processes at Loihi Seamount, Hawaii. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta. Vol. 198, pp. 131-150.
    • LaRowe, D. E., Burwicz, E., Arndt, S., Dale, A. W., Amend, J. P. (2017). The temperature and volume of global marine sediments. Geology. Vol. 45, pp. 275-278.
    • Young, E., Kohl, I. E., Sherwood Lollar, B., Etiope, G., Rumble III, D., Li, S., Haghnegahdar, M. A., Schauble, E. A., McCain, K. A., Foustoukos, D. I., Sutclife, C., Warr, O., Ballentine, C. J., Onstott, T. C., Hosgormez, H., Neubeck, A., Marques, J. M., Rowe, A. R., Pérez-Rodríguez, I., LaRowe, D. E., Magnabosco, C., Yeung, L. Y., Ash, J. L., Bryndzia, T. (2017). The relative abundances of resolved 12CH2D2 and 13CH3D and mechanisms controlling isotopic bond ordering in abiotic and biotic methane gases. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta. Vol. 203, pp. 235-264.
    • Rowe, A. R., Yoshimura, M., LaRowe, D. E., Bird, L. J., Amend, J. P., Hashimoto, K., Nealson, K. H., Okamoto, A. (2017). In situ electrochemical enrichment and isolation of a magnetite-reducing bacterium from a high pH serpentinizing spring. Environmental Microbiology. Vol. 19, pp. 2272-2285.
    • LaRowe, D. E., Koch, B., Robador, A., Witt, M., Ksionzek, K., Amend, J. (2017). Identification of organic compounds in ocean basement fluids. Organic Geochemistry. Vol. 113, pp. 124-127.
    • 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. Vol. 10, pp. 1285-1295.
    • 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.

    Magazine/Trade Publication

    • Amend, J. P., LaRowe, D. E.Ocean sediments – an enormous but little- understood microbial habitat. Microbe. Vol. 11, pp. 427-432.
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