Ethan Grossman

Ethan Grossman

Professor and Michel T. Halbouty Chair

Co-Director, Stable Isotope Geosciences Facility

Stable isotope geochemistry, clumped isotopes, global change, paleoclimates, hydrogeochemistry

  (979) 845-0637

  Halbouty 210



Global Change and Paleoclimates; Stable isotope geochemistry; Clumped isotopes; Biogeochemistry and geomicrobiology of aquifer systems


National Science Foundation (EAR-1902469). Clumped isotope reordering kinetics in carbonate minerals: The key to accurate ocean paleotemperatures and basin thermal histories, 7/19-6/21, E.L. Grossman, S. Banerjee (CHEM), $340,620.

Seed Grants for Water Research, Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station and the College of Engineering. Development of a Low-cost Compact In-water Isotope Gas Sensing Instrument Deployable on Autonomous or Remote-Operated Underwater Vehicles, 9/17-8/18, Han, Lin, Roark, and Grossman,  ($100,000; $10,000 for ELG).

Passport to the Caribbean past: Historical ecology of microgastropods, SENACYT (Secretaría Nacional de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación), A. O'Dea, E. Grossman, J. Todd, F. Rodriguez, 3/1/17-2/28/19, $118,053 (TAMU ~$5,000).

Stable Isotope Partnership for Ecology, Environment, and Energy Research (SIPEEER), TAMUS Research Development Fund, E.L. Grossman, J. Vogel, E.B. Roark, T. Boutton, N. Slowey, J. West, A. Hyodo, co-PIs, 8/1/2016-7/31/2020, $1,040,000 (SIGF $507,506).



My research involves the development and application of geochemical techniques, especially oxygen and carbon isotope distributions, to a broad suite of geologic and societal problems: extreme climate in Earth history, linkages between the carbon cycle and climate, the thermal history of sedimentary (petroleum) basins, origin of groundwater methane, river dynamics and climate, and more. With so many problems in the Earth system resolvable via H, C, N, O, S, and clumped isotopes, the opportunities are unlimited.

Selected Publications

RECENT (2016-2021)

Figuerola, B., Grossman, E.L., Lucey, N., Leonard, N.D., O'Dea, A., 2021. Millennial-scale change on a Caribbean reef system that experiences hypoxia.  Ecography (in revision).

Grossman, E.L., and Joachimski, M.M., 2020. Ch. 10. Oxygen isotope stratigraphy. In Gradstein, F.M., Ogg, J.G., Schmitz, M., and Ogg, G., eds., The Geologic Time Scale 2020, Elsevier, p. 279-307.

Legett*, S.A., Rasbury, E.T., Grossman, E.L., Hemming, N.G., and Penman, D.E., 2020. The brachiopod δ11B record across the Carboniferous-Permian climate transition. Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology, 35, e2019PA003838. 10.1029/2019PA003838. 

Naylor*, H.N., Defliese, W.F., Grossman, E.L., and Maupin, C.R., 2020. Investigation of the thermal history of the Delaware Basin (West Texas, USA) using carbonate clumped isotope thermometry. Basin Research, v. 32, p. 1140–1155.

Johnson*, D.L., Grossman, E.L., Webb, S.M., and Adkins, J., 2020. Brachiopod δ34SCAS microanalyses indicate a dynamic, climatically-influenced Permo-Carboniferous sulfur cycle. Earth and Planetary Science Letters , v. 546, p. 116428 //

Grossman, E.L., Robbins, J.A, Rachello-Dolmen, P., Tao, K., Saxena*, D. and O’Dea, A., 2019. Freshwater input, upwelling, and the evolution of Caribbean coastal ecosystems during formation of the Isthmus of Panama. Geology, v. 47, p. 857–861.

Van Plantinga*, A.A., and Grossman, E.L., 2018. Stable and clumped isotope sclerochronologies of mussels from the Brazos River, Texas: environmental and ecologic proxy. Chemical Geology, v. 502, p. 55-65.

Henkes*, G.A., Passey, B.H., Grossman, E.L., Shenton*, B., Yancey, T.E., and Perez-Huerta, A., 2018. Temperature evolution and the oxygen isotope composition of Phanerozoic oceans from carbonate clumped isotope thermometry, Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., v. 490, p. 40-50. (submitted 3/22/17; resubmitted 11/2/17; accepted 1/31/18)

Roark*, A., Flake*, R., Grossman, E.L., Olszewski, T., Lebold, J., Marcantonio, F., Thomas, D., Miller, B., Raymond, A., Yancey, T., 2017. Brachiopod geochemical records from across the Carboniferous seaways of North America: Evidence for salinity gradients, stratification, and circulation patterns. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, v. 485, p. 136-153 (submitted 3/11/17; accepted 6/11/17).

Graniero*, L.E., Grossman, E.L., Robbins, J.A., Morales, J., Thompson, R., and O’Dea, A., 2017. Conus shell δ13C values as proxies for δ13CDIC in tropical waters. Palaeogeog., Palaeoclim., Palaeoecol., v. 472, p. 119-127.

Collins, L.S., Geary, D.H., and Grossman, E.L., 2016. Variability of modern foraminiferal stable isotope ratios in Caribbean shallow waters. Palaeogeog., Palaeoclim., Palaeoecol., v. 463, p.  1–10 (

Van Plantinga*, Grossman, E.L. and Roark, E.B. 2017. Chemical and isotopic tracer evaluation of water mixing and evaporation in a dammed Texas river during drought. River Research and Applications, DOI: 10.1002/rra.3080.

Qie*, W., Wang, X., Zhang, X., Ji, W., Grossman, E.L., Huang, X., Liu, J., and Luo, G., 2016. Latest Devonian to earliest Carboniferous conodont and carbon isotope stratigraphy of a shallow-water sequence in South China. Geological Journal, v. 51, p. 915-935 (DOI: 10.1002/gj.2710).

O’Dea, A., Lessios, H.A., Coates, A.G., Eytan, R.I., Restrepo-Moreno, S.A., Cione, A.L., Collins, L.S., de Queiroz, A., Farris, D.W., Norris, R.D., Stallard, R.F., Woodburne, M.O., Aguilera, O., Aubry, M-P., Berggren, W.A., Budd, A.F., Cozzuol, M.A., Coppard, S.E., Duque-Caro, H., Finnegan, S., Gasparini, G.M., Grossman, E.L., Johnson, K.G., Keigwin, L.D., Knowlton, N., Leigh, E.G., Leonard-Pingel, J.S., Marko, P.B., Pyenson, N.D., Rachello-Dolmen, P.G., Soibelzon, E., Soibelzon, L., Todd, J.A., Vermeij, G. J., Jackson, J.B.C., 2016. Formation of the Isthmus of Panama. Science Advances 2: 10.1126/sciadv.1600883.

Graniero*, L.E., Grossman, E.L., and O’Dea, A., 2016. Stable isotopes in bivalves as indicators of nutrient source in coastal waters in the Bocas del Toro Archipelago, Panama. PeerJ, DOI 10.7717/peerj.2278.

Moustafa, M., Pope, M.C., Grossman, E.L., and Mriheel, I.Y, 2016. Carbon and Oxygen Isotope Variations on an Ancient Carbonate Platform: A Case Study from the Middle-Late Triassic Al Aziziyah Formation, Northwest Libya. Journal of African Earth Sciences, v. 118, p. 149-162.

Roark*, A., Grossman, E.L., and Lebold, J., 2016. Seasonality and circulation dynamics along the Appalachian margin of the Late Pennsylvanian epicontinental sea of North America: brachiopod geochemical records and their implications to models of shelf anoxia. Geol. Soc. America Bulletin, v. 128, p. 597-608. (Cover article)


Ph.D. (Geochemistry), University of Southern California, 1982, Stable Isotopes in Live Benthic Foraminifera from the Southern California Borderland (Teh-Lung Ku, thesis advisor)

B.S. (Geology; magna cum laude), State University of New York at Albany, 1976


Elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2018)

2nd Place, Gordon I. Atwater Award for poster: Hendricks, Yancey, Flis, Flis, and Grossman, Formation of Barrel Concretions around Methane Seepage Pathways in Upper Middle Eocene Shelf Sediments, Stone City Bluff, Texas,” 2012 GCAGS Convention in Austin, TX (2012)

Awarded Michel T. Halbouty Chair in Geology (2010)

Elected Fellow of the Geological Society of America (2007)

Dean's Distinguished Achievement Award for Faculty Research, College of Geosciences (2005)

Graduate advisor to recipient of university-wide Association of Former Students Distinguished Graduate Student Research Award (W. Cory Beck, M.S., 2004)

Awarded Mollie B. and Richard A. Williford Professorship (2002-2010)

Graduate advisor to recipient of university-wide Association of Former Students Distinguished Graduate Student Research Award (Takuro Kobashi, M.S., 2001)


Google scholar profile:

Stable Isotope Geosciences Facility:

Personal Webpage: Under construction


Additional Information

Present and Former Students and Post-Docs (*current)

#Association of Former Students Distinguished Graduate Student Research Award

Ph.D. (10): Bryce Barney*, Anindito Satrio Baskoro*, Horng-sheng Mii ('96, Professor, National Taiwan Normal University), Christopher Romanek ('91, formerly of University of Kentucky),  Joyanto Routh ('98, Research Professor, Assoc. Prof., Linköping University, Sweden), Josiah Strauss (’10, Dolan Integration Group, Boulder, CO), Zeyang Sun*, Kai Tao (’12), Alexander van Plantinga (’15, Air Liquide), Chuanlun Zhang ('94, Professor, Southern University, Shenzhen, China)

M.S. (20):  David Adlis ('86, The Aerospace Corporation), Bryce Barney*, W. Cory Beck# (’04, Dominion Exploration and Production), Keith Bowers ('86), Melanie Brewer*, Judy Canova ('88, South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control), B. Keith Coffman ('88, ConocoPhillips), Meagan Depugh (’19), Ryan Flake (’11, Exxon-Mobil), D. Keith Gentry ('06, Marathon Oil), Lauren Graniero (’14, Ph.D. candidate, UNC), David Katz ('97, Phillips Petroleum^), Takuro Kobashi# (’01, Renewable Energy Institute), Horng-sheng Mii ('92, National Taiwan Normal University), Howard “Nate” Naylor (’18), Andrew Roark (’15, Chevron), Jeannette Schlichenmeyer ('96, Roux Associates, Inc., Environmental Consulting and Management, Houston^), Brock Shenton (’14, Exxon-Mobil), Ronald Sprague, Huayu Wang ('98), Chuanlun Zhang ('89, Southern University, China)

^last known employer

Undergraduate theses (2): Jordan Noret (’08, Graduate student, SMU), Stephanie Wood (’11, Graduate student, University of Texas)

Post-docs/Visiting Scientists (8): Peter Bruckschen ('97, formerly of Ruhr University), William Defliese ’17-19, University of Queensland), Blanca Figuerola (’18-19; joint with Aaron O’Dea), Institute of Marine Sciences (ICM-CSIC), Pg. Marítim de la Barceloneta, D. Jeffrey Over ('91-92, SUNY College at Geneseo), Paola Rachello-Denmon (’15-16), John Robbins (’11-13, Southern Methodist University), Hideki Wada ('87, Shizuoka University), Yasheng Wu ('02-03, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing)

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