Doug LaRowe

Assistant Professor (Research)
Office: Ahmanson East, Room 303
Phone: (213) 821-2268
Email: larowe at
2005                Ph.D. Earth and Planetary Science, University of California, Berkeley, advisor: Harold C. Helgeson
1998                B.A. Earth & Planetary Sciences, Washington University in St. Louis
1997 (fall)        St. Lawrence University Semester Abroad in Kenya and Tanzania
Research Interests

Microorganisms have been key drivers of environmental change throughout most of earth history. They are responsible for oxygenating the atmosphere, driving carbon, nitrogen and other element cycles, and through their roles in food production, disease, and more, are of fundamental importance to modern human societies. As a result, developing a quantitative understanding of how microorganisms interact with their surroundings is essential to explaining earth history, forecasting the impact of climate change, and, on a more fundamental level, understanding the origin, extent and limits of life. Within this context, the goal of my research is to determine how environmental forces affect microbial activity and how microorganisms influence geochemical cycles. Towards this end, I develop and apply computational models to diverse biogeochemical systems in collaboration with microbiologists, oceanographers and geochemists who are involved in field and laboratory studies concerning life at the fringes.

Specific Research Areas:

  • Theoretical Biogeochemistry
  • Reaction Transport Modeling
  • Experimental Biogeochemistry
  • Bioenergetics
  • Organic matter degradation 
  • Biogeography           
  • Thermodynamic data development
Recent Publications
Price, R.E., LaRowe, D.E., Italiano, F., Savov, I, Pichler, T. and Amend, J.P. Geochemistry and bioenergetic potential of a shallow-sea hydrothermal vent system off Panarea Island, Aeolian Islands, Italy. submitted, Chemical Geology
Robador, A., Jungbluth, S.P., LaRowe, D.E., Bowers, R.M., Lin, H.-T., Rappé,Amend, J.P., Cowen, J. Microbial sulfate reduction in deep subseafloor basaltic fluids, PNAS, submitted
Lin, H.-T., LaRowe, D.E. Amend, J.P., Bingham, J.-P., and Cowen, J.P. Dissolved aminoacids in basement fluids from sediment-buried eastern Juan de Fuca Ridge flank, submitted to Geochimica Cosmochimica Acta
Osburn, M.R., Momper, L, LaRowe, D.E. and Amend, J.P. Chemolithotrophy in the continental deep subsurface: Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF), USA, Frontiers in Extreme Microbiology, in revision
Teske, A.P., Callaghan, A.V. and LaRowe, D.E.  Biosphere Frontiers: Deep Life in the sedimented hydrothermal system of Guaymas Basin, Frontiers in Extreme Microbiology, 5, Article 362, doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2014.00362
Hernandez-Sanchez, M.T., LaRowe, D.E., Deng, F., Homoky, W.B., Browning, T.,Pabortsava, K., Henderson, G., Mills, R.A. and Pancost, R.D. Further insights into how sediment redox status controls the preservation and composition of sedimentary organic biomarkers, Organic Geochemistry, accepted
Takai, K., Nakamura, K., LaRowe, D.E. and Amend, J.P. Life under subseafloor extremes, in Earth and Life Processes Discovered from Subseafloor Environment - A Decade of Science Achieved by the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP), Eds. R. Stein, D. Blackman, F. Inagaki, and H.-C. Larsen, accepted
LaRowe, D.E. and Amend, J.P., Catabolic rates, population sizes and doubling/replacement times of microorganisms in the deep subsurface, revision submitted to American Journal of Science
Orcutt, B.N., LaRowe, D.E., Lloyd, K.G., Mills, H., Orsi, W., Reeese, B.K., Sauvage, J., Huber, J. and 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, 17, 61-66.
Marlow, J., and LaRowe, D.E., Ehlmann, B.L., Amend, J.P. and Orphan, V.  (2014) The Potential for Biologically Catalyzed Anaerobic Methane Oxidation on Ancient Mars, Astrobiology, 14, DOI: 10.1089/ast.2013.1078
LaRowe, D.E. and Amend, J.P. (2014) Energetic constraints on life in marine deep sediments, in Life in Extreme Environments: Microbial Life in the Deep Biosphere, J. Kallmeyer and K. Wagner, eds., De Gruyter Publishing, 342 pp.
LaRowe, D.E., Dale, A.W., Aguilera, D. R., L’Heureux, I., Amend, J.P. and Regnier, P. (2014) Modeling microbial reaction rates in a submarine hydrothermal vent chimney wall, Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta, 124, 72-97.
Orcutt, B.N., LaRowe, D.E., Biddle, J.F., Cowell, F., Kirkpatrick, J.B., Lapham, L., Mills, H., Reese, B., Sylvan, J. and Wankel, S. (2013) Microbial activity in the marine deep biosphere: Progress and prospects, Frontiers in Extreme Microbiology, 4, article 189, doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2013.00189, 15p
Regnier, P., Friedlingstein, P., Ciais, P., Mackenzie, F.T., Gruber, N.,  Janssens, I., Laruelle, G.G., Lauerwald, R., Luyssaert,S.,  Andersson, A.J., Arndt, S., Arnosti, C., Borges, A.V., Dale, A.W., Galego-Sala, A., Godderis, Y., Hartmann, J., Heinze, C., Ilyiana, T., Joos, F., LaRowe, D.E., Leifeld, J., Meysman, F.J.R., Munhoven, G., Raymond, P.A., Spahni, R., Suntharalingham, P. and Thullner, M. (2013) Anthropogenic perturbation of the land to ocean carbon fluxes, Nature Geosci. 6, 597-607.
Arndt, S., Jørgensen, B.B., LaRowe, D.E., Middelburg, J.B.M., Pancost, R.D., Regnier, P., (2013) Quantifying the degradation of organic matter in marine sediments: A review and synthesis, Earth Sci. Rev., 123, 53-86.
Amend, J.P., LaRowe, D.E., McCollom, T.M. and Shock, E.L. (2013) The energetics of organic synthesis inside and outside the cell, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. 368, 1-15.
LaRowe, D.E., Dale, A.W., Amend, J.P. and Van Cappellen, P. (2012) Thermodynamic limitations on microbially catalyzed   reaction rates, Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta, 90, 96-109.
LaRowe, D.E. and Dick, J.M. (2012) Calculation of the standard molal thermodynamic properties of crystalline peptides, Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta, 80, 70-91.