University of California, Riverside

Earth Sciences

Department of Earth Sciences

Gordon Love

Gordon Love


PhD in Chemistry, University of Strathclyde (UK), 1995
NERC Research Fellow, University of Newcastle (UK), 1997-2003
Postdoctoral Research Fellow at MIT, 2003 to 2006

Specialty: Biogeochemistry

Phone: (951) 827-3181
Office: Geology 1456

Research Interests:

The primary focus of my research is molecular organic geochemistry, particularly applied to the ancient sedimentary record, but also to microbial cultures, recent sediments and carbonaceous chondrite meteorites. My interests involve retrieving and interpreting ancient molecular and isotopic biosignatures preserved in the geological record and formulating strategies for discriminating abiogenic from biogenic mechanisms of organic matter formation with application to the kerogens found in Earth's oldest sediments.

My research uses a combination of state-of-the-art analytical techniques for analysis of recalcitrant fossil biochemicals found in the geosphere known as lipid biomarkers e.g. gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), gas chromatography-isotope ratio mass spectrometry (GC-IRMS) and catalytic hydropyrolysis (HyPy).I am also interested in applying spectroscopic techniques for assessing the bulk chemical composition of sedimentary organic matter (solid-state 13C NMR, Raman) and using stable isotope analyses ( 13C and 15 N) for probing carbon and nitrogen cycling in the ancient biosphere.

Recent Projects:

1. Using molecular lipid biomarkers and stable isotopes ( 13C, 15N) to record environmental and biotic change through the end-Permian mass extinction (with Roger Summons, MIT),
2. Analyzing the molecular biomarker record for the Proterozoic (pre-543 Ma) to record changes in ocean chemistry and the progressive oxygenation of the biosphere, including constraining the first appearance of basal animals in the geological record (with Roger Summons, MIT; Jochen Brocks, ANU, Australia)
3. Compiling molecular and stable carbon isotopic patterns for assessing the origins (biogenic/abiogenic?) of highly aromatic and overmature organic matter from the Archean, such as that found within 3.5 Ga Strelley Pool cherts (with Craig Marshall, University of Sydney, Australia)
4. Structural and isotopic characterization of molecular building blocks of the insoluble organic matter in carbonaceous chondrite meteorites (with Mark Sephton, Imperial, UK)
5. Development of catalytic hydropyrolysis as an analytical technique for petroleum geochemistry applications. This approach can generate pristine biomarker signals from macromolecular fractions of heavily biodegraded oils, tar mats, pyrobitumens as well as for sediment cores/cuttings contaminated with oil based drilling muds and lubricants.

These bound biomarker signals can be used for source correlation and maturity assessment where conventional biomarker analysis is severely compromised (with Colin Snape, University of Nottingham, UK).

P. Farrimond, G.D. Love, A.N. Bishop, H.E. Innes, D.F. Watson and CE. Snape 2003, Evidence for the rapid incorporation of hopanoids into kerogen.Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 67, p. 1383-1394.

J.J. Brocks, G.D. Love, C.E. Snape, G.A. Logan, R.E. Summons and R. Buick 2003, Release of bound aromatic hydrocarbons from late Archean and Mesoproterozoic kerogens via hydropyrolysis. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 67, p. 1521-1530.

G.D. Love , A.C. Aplin, S.R. Larter and G. Taylor 2003, Determination of stable carbon d 13 C isotope systematics for alkylphenols and light aromatic hydrocarbons (BTEX) in petroleum formation waters and co-produced oils . J. Geochem. Exploration 78-9 , p. 465-467.

H. Huang, S.R. Larter and G.D. Love 2003, Analysis of wax hydrocarbons in petroleum source rocks from the Damintun Depression, eastern China, using high temperature gas chromatography. Organic Geochemistry 34, p. 1673-1687.

M.A. Sephton, G.D. Love, J.S. Watson, A.B. Verchovsky, I.P. Wright, C.E.Snape and I. Gilmour 2004, Hydropyrolysis of insoluble carbonaceous matter in the Murchison meteorite: New insights into its macromolecular structure. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 68, p. 1385-1393.

B. Bennett, A. Lager, C.A. Russell, G.D. Love and S.R. Larter 2004, Hydropyrolysis of algae, bacteria and lake sediments; insights into the origin of aromatic nitrogen compounds in petroleum . Org.Geochem . 35 , p. 1427-1439.

C. A. Russell, W. Meredith, C.E. Snape, G.D. Love , E. Clarke and B. Moffatt 2004, The potential of bound biomarker profiles released via catalytic hydropyrolysis to reconstruct basin charging history for oils. Org. Geochem . 35 , p. 1441-1459.

O.E. Craig, G.D. Love, S. Isaksson, G. Taylor and C.E. Snape 2004, Stable carbon isotopic characterisation of free and bound lipid constituents of archaeological ceramic vessels released by solvent extraction, alkaline hydrolysis and catalytic hydropyrolysis. Journal of Analytical and Applied Pyrolysis 71, 613-634.

W. Meredith, C.-G. Sun, C.E. Snape, M.A. Sephton and G.D. Love 2006, The use of model compounds to investigate the release of covalently bound biomarkers via hydropyrolysis. Org. Geochem. 37, 1705-1714.

G.D. Love, S.A. Bowden, R.E. Summons, L.L. Jahnke, C.E. Snape, C.N. Campbell and J.G. Day 2005, An optimised catalytic hydropyrolysis method for the rapid screening of microbial cultures for lipid biomarkers. Organic Geochemistry 36, p. 63-82.

K. Grice, C. Cao, G.D. Love, M.E. Böttcher, R.J. Twitchett, E. Grosjean, R.E. Summons, S.C. Turgeon, W. Dunning and Y. Jin 2005, Photic zone euxinia during the Permian-Triassic Superanoxic Event. Science 307, p. 706-709.

M.A. Sephton, G.D. Love, W. Meredith, C.E. Snape, C.-G. Sun and J.S. Watson 2005, Hydropyrolysis: a new technique for the analysis of macromolecular material in meteorites. Planetary and Space Science 53, p. 1280-1286.

J.J. Brocks, G.D. Love, R.E. Summons, A.H. Knoll, G.A. Logan and S.A. Bowden 2005, Biomarker evidence for green and purple sulphur bacteria in a stratified Palaeoproterozoic sea. Nature 437, p. 866-870.

S.A. Bowden, P. Farrimond, C.E. Snape and G.D. Love 2006, Compositional differences in biomarker constituents of the hydrocarbon, resin, asphaltene and kerogen fractions: An example from the Jet Rock (Yorkshire, UK). Organic Geochemistry 37, p. 369-383

C.P. Marshall, G.D. Love, C.E. Snape, A.C. Hill, A.C.Allwood, M.R. Walter, M.J. Van Kranendonk, S.A Bowden, S.P.Sylva, R.E. Summons. 2007, Structural characterization of kerogen in 3.4 Ga Archaean kerogens from the Pilbara Craton Western Australia. Science Direct Precambrian Research. 155, p. 1-23

R.D. Pancost, J.M. Coleman, G.D. Love, A. Chatzi, I. Boulabassi and C.E. Snape 2008. Kerogen-bound glycerol dialkyl tetraether lipids released by hydropyrolysis of marine sediments: A bias against incorporation of sedimentary organisms? Org. Geochem. 39, p. 1359-1371.

G.D. Love, C. Stalvies, E. Grosjean, W. Meredith and C.E. Snape 2008. Analysis of molecular biomarkers covalently bound within Neoproterozoic sedimentary kerogen. In From Evolution to Geobiology: Research Questions Driving Paleontology at the Start of a New Century (eds. Kelley, P.H. & Bambach, R.K.) p. 67-83 (Paleontological Society Short Course, October 4, 2008. Paleontological Society Papers, Vol. 14, 2008).

E. Grosjean, G.D. Love, C. Stalvies, D.A. Fike and R.E. Summons 2009. Origin of petroleum in the Neoproterozoic-Cambrian South Oman Salt Basin. Org. Geochem. 40, p. 87-110.

C. Cao, G.D. Love, L.E. Hays, S.A. Bowring, W. Wang, S. Shen and R.E. Summons (2009)  Biogeochemical evidence for euxinic oceans and ecological disturbance presaging the end-Permian Mass Extinction Event.  Earth and Planetary Science Letters 281,188-201.

G.D. Love, E. Grosjean, C. Stalvies, D.A. Fike, J.P. Grotzinger, A.S. Bradley, A.E. Kelly, M. Bhatia, S.A. Bowring, D.J. Condon and R.E. Summons 2009. Fossil steroids record the appearance of Demospongiae during the Cryogenian period. Nature 457, p. 718-722.

Chao Li, Gordon D. Love, Timothy W. Lyons, David A. Fike, Alex L. Sessions, and Xuelei Chu 2010. A Stratified Redox Model for the Ediacaran Ocean Science doi:10.1126/science.1182369

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