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School of the Earth, Ocean and Environment

Susan Q. Lang


Ph.D.     2006.  Chemical Oceanography, University of Washington, USA

M.S.      2003.  Chemical Oceanography, University of Washington, USA

B.S.      1999.   Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA


Research Experience

1/2014 – Present      Assistant Professor, Dept of Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of South Carolina

2009 – 1/2014          Research Staff (Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiter), ETH Zürich, Swizterland

2007 – 2009             Postdoctoral Researcher, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

1999 – 2006             Graduate Student Researcher, Univ. of Washington.

Summer, 1998         Undergraduate Researcher, Woods Hole Oceanographic Inst.

1997 – 1998            Undergraduate Researcher, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Awards, Fellowships and Honors

2016.  Kavli Frontiers of Science Fellow, bestowed by National Academy of Sciences and Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

2013.  Web of science highly cited paper, for Schrenk, Brazelton, and Lang, 2013.

2010.  Top 25 most cited articles, Geochemica et Cosmochimica Acta, Elsevier, for Lang et al. 2010

2000 – 2003.  National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Student Fellowship

1999 – 2002.  Achievement Rewards for College Scientists Graduate Student Fellowship

1999.  Undergraduate Research Award, MIT Chemistry Department


Research Funding

2018 – 2021. “Groundwater sources of “new” N for benthic microalgal production in the South Atlantic Bight” (NSF Biological Oceanography) PI: J. Pinckney Co-Is: A. Wilson, S. Lang Award: $992,461 total, $163,142 to Lang

2018 -  2021. “The DEEP Project: Detecting Extraterrestrial Piezophiles in Ocean Worlds Analogs” (NASA – PSTAR) PI: K. Rogers (RPI). Co-PIs: K. Frank (UH) and S. Lang Award: Award: 1.1 M total, $88,808 to Lang

2016-2017. "Direct access to the serpentinite subsurface: a biogeochemical investigation of fluids to characterize a unique habitat" (C-DEBI) Award: $79,972 PI: S. Lang

2016. "ASPIRE III: Acquisition of Equipment Required for Preparing Compound Specific Radiocarbon Samples" (USC Office of the Vice President of Research) Award: $76,387.76 PI: L. Ziolkowski Co-PIs: S. Lang and R. Benner

2015-2017. "Participation of Susan Lang on Expedition 357 (offshore)" (U.S. Science Support Program) Award: $60,687 PI: S. Lang 

2015-2016. "Sewage overflows from the 1000-year rain event and their impacts on the cyclingof carbon and toxic metals in the Congaree River watershed." (USC Office of Research Special Initiatives) Award: $30,000 total ($6,000 to Lang) PI: S. Rothenberg. Co-PIs: M. Baalousha, M. Bizimis, S. Lang, B. Stangler

2015 - 2018 "Collaborative Research: Investigating the Lost City as an Ultramafic Urban Center of the Subseafloor, Fueled by Energy and Carbon from the Mantle" (National Science Foundation). Award: $621,928 total ($276,186 to USC) PI: S. Lang. Co-PIs: B. Brazelton, D. Kelley, M. Lilley, G. Früh-Green

2015-2016 "Bioenergetic influences upon carbon flow in alkaliphilic sulfate-reducing microbial populations with relevance to the subsurface biosphere at the Lost City Hydrothermal Field." (C-DEBI) Award: $110,000. PI: S. Lang. Co-PI: M. Schrenk (MSU) 

2015. "Amino acids as a reflection of chemolithoautotroph, heterotrophy, and abiotic processes in diverse subsurface fluids" (Deep Carbon Observatory) Award: $24,900

2014. “Early Career: Instrument and Technician Support for the Isotopic Analysis of Individual Organic Compounds in the Earth System” (National Science Foundation) Award: $99,934. PI: S. Lang. Co-PIs: R. Benner and L. Ziolkowski.

2012-2014. “Unraveling Abiotic and Biotic Sources and Sinks of Carbon in Marine Hydrothermal Systems.” (Swiss National Science Foundation) Award: CHF 240,858 grant for research and salary. PI: G. Früh-Green. Co-PIs: S. Lang, S. Bernasconi & L. Wacker

2010-2012. “Carbon and Nitrogen Cycles in High Alkaline Systems” (Swiss National Science Foundation). Award: CHF 241,979 grant for research and salary. PI: G. Früh-Green. Co-PIs: S. Lang & S. Bernasconi

2010. “Serpentinization and life: Biogeochemistry and tectono-magmatic processes in young mafic and ultramafic seafloor” (International Drilling Program: Mission Specific Platform). Status: Forward to Science Planning Committee with 5 out of 5 stars. PI: G. Früh-Green Co-PI: S. Lang, 26 others

2009.  “Investigating the Formation Mechanisms and Inorganic Precursors of Formate and Acetate in Lost City Hydrothermal Fluids” (InterRidge International). Award: $5,000 for travel and research PI: S. Lang

2007 – 2009. “Investigating the Lower Trophic Levels of the SusiunBay Food Web: A Biomarker-Specific Isotope Approach. (CALFED Science Fellows Program). Award: $215,759 for salary and research. PI: S. Lang Co-PI: L. Aluwihare  

2007. “Metabolisms of the Deep-Sea” (Scripps Institution of Oceanography). Award: 5 days of ship time PI: S. Lang (Chief Scientist) Co-PI: L. Aluwihare


Field Experience

2018 (anticipated). Lost City as an urban center for subseafloor life. Chief Scientist. 28-day cruise with ROV Jason to collect fluid and rock samples from Lost City Hydrothermal Field. 

2015. International Ocean Discovery Program Expedition 357: Atlantis Massif Serpentinization and Life. Sailed as Organic Geochemist on 47-day drilling leg.

2008.  Metabolisms of the Deep-sea.  Chief-scientist.  Metabolisms of deep-sea microbial communities Deep-ocean sampling via R/V Sproul.

2008 - 2009. Multiple cruises, sampling in the San FranciscoBay and Delta. Participant. R/V Polaris

2005. Visions. Participant. Juan de Fuca ridge via R/V Thompson and ROV JASON

2005.  Virtual Lost City. Participant. Lost City hydrothermal field via R/V Ronald H. Brown and the Institute for Exploration's ROV Argus and Hercules

2003.  Lost City. Participant.  Lost City hydrothermal field via R/V Atlantis and DSV ALVIN

2003.  Life in Extreme Environments return cruise.  Participant.  Main Endeavour Field, Axial Seamount, and the Juan de Fuca flanks via R/V Thompson and ROV JASON

2002.  Life in Extreme Environments.  Participant.  Main Endeavour Field, Axial Seamount, and the Juan de Fuca flanks via R/V Thompson and ROV JASON

2001.  New Millennium Observatory.  Participant.  Axial Seamount via R/V Ronald H. Brown and ROV ROPOS

2000.  Tidal Perturbations return cruise. Participant.  Main Endeavour Field Main Endeavour Field via R/V Atlantis and DSV ALVIN and ROV JASON

2000.  Tidal Perturbations.  Participant.  Main Endeavour Field via R/V Atlantis and DSV ALVIN and ROV JASON




Brazelton, W.J., Thornton, C.N., Hyer, A., Twing, K.I., Longino, A.A., Lang, S.Q., Lilley, M.D., Früh-Green, G.L., Schrenk, M.O. (2017) Metagenomic identification of active methanogens and methanotrophs in serpentinite springs of Voltri Massif, Italy. PeerJ:e2945 DOI: 10.77117/peerj.2945

Pisapia, C. Gérard, E., Gérard, M., Lecourt, L., Lang, S.Q., Pelletier, B., Payri, C., Monnin, C., Guentas, L., Postec, A., Quéméneur, M., Erauso, G., Ménez, B. (2017) Mineralization filamentous bacteria from the Prony Bay Hydrothermal  Field give new insights to the functioning of serpentinization-based subseafloor ecosystems. Frontiers.8:57. DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2017.00057

Lang, S.Q., McIntyre, C.P., Bernasconi, S.M., Früh-Green, G., Voss, B.M., Eglinton, T.I., Wacker, L. (2016) Rapid 14C Analysis of dissolved organic carbon in non-saline waters. Radiocarbon. DOI: 10.1017/RDC.2016.17

McIntyre, C.P., Lechleitner, F., Lang, S.Q., Haghiour, N., Fahrni, S., Wacker, L., and Synal H-A. (2016) 14C Contamination testing in natural abundance laboratories: A new preparation method using wet chemical oxidation and some experiences. Radiocarbon. 1-7; DOI: 10.1017/RDC.2016.78

Wiedemeier, D.B., Lang, S.Q., Gierga, M., Abiven, S., Bernasconi, S.M., Fruh-Green, G.L., Hajdas, I., Hanke, U.M., Hilf, M.D., Schneider, M.P.W., Smittenberg, R.H., Wacker., L., Wiesenberg, G.L.B., Schmidt, M.W.I. (2016) Characterization, Quantification and Compound-specific Isotopic Analysis of Pyrogenic Carbon Using Benzene Polycarboxylic Acids (BPCA). J. Vis. Exp. (111) e53922, doi: 10.3791/53922

Hindsaw, R.S., Lang, S.Q., Bernasconi, S.M., Heaton, T.H.E., Lindsay, M.R., and Boyde, E.S. (2016) Origin and temporal variability of unusually low δ13C-DOC values in two High Arctic catchments. J. Geophys. Res. Biogeosci.. DOI: 10.1002/2015JG003303.

Kohl, L., Cumming, E., Cox, A., Rietze, A., Morrissey, L., Lang, S.Q., Richter, A., Suzuki, S., Nealson, K.H., Morrill, P.L. (2016) Exploring the metabolic potential of microbial communities in ultra-basic, reducing springs at The Cedars, CA, US: Experimental evidence of microbial methanogenesis and heterotrophic acetogenesis. J. Geophys. Res. Biogeosci., 121, doi: 10.1002/2015JG003233.

Gomez-Saez, G.V., Niggemann, J., Dittmar, T., Pohlabeln, A.M., Lang, S.Q., Noowong, A., Pichler, T., Wörmer, L., and Bühring, S.I. (2016) Molecular evidence for abiotic sulfurization of dissolved organic matter in marine shallow hydrothermal systems. Geochim. et Cosmochim. Acta 190: 35-52

Larson, B. I., Lang, S.Q., Lilley, M.D., Olson, E.J., Lupton, J., Nakamura, K., Buck, N. (2015) Stealth export of hydrogen and methane from a low temperature serpentinization system. Deep-Sea Research Part II. 10.1016/j.dsr2.2015.05.007

Morrill, P.L., Brazelton W.J., Kohl, L., Rietze, A., Miles, S. Kavanagh, H., Schrenk, M.O., Ziegler, S.E., and Lang, S.Q. (2014) Investigations of potential microbial methanogenic and carbon monoxide utilization pathways in ultra-basic reducing springs associated with present-day continental serpentinization: the Tablelands, NL, CAN. Frontiers in Microbiology. DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2014.00613

Jaeschke, A., Eickmann, B., Lang, S.Q., Bernasconi, S.M., Strauss, H., Früh-Green, G.L. (2014) Biosignatures in chimney structures and sediment from the Loki’s Castle low-temperature hydrothermal vent field at the Arctic Mid-Ocean Ridge. Extremeophiles. 18(3): 545-560.

Gierga, M., Schneider, M.P.W., Widemeir, D.B., Lang, S.Q., Smittenberg, R.H., Hajdas, I., Bernasconi, S.M., Schmidt, M.W.I. (2014) Purification of fire-derived molecular markers for microgram-scale isotope analysis (δ13C, Δ14C) using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Organic Geochemistry. 70:1-9

Méhay S., Früh-Green G.L., Lang S.Q., Bernasconi S.M., Brazelton W.J., Schaeffer P., and Adam P., (2013) “Record of archaeal activity at the Lost City Hydrothermal Field” Geobiology. 11:570-592

Schwarzenbach E.M., Lang S.Q., Früh-Green G.L., Lilley M.D., Bernasconi S.M., and Méhay S. (2013)  “Sources and cycling of carbon in a continental, serpentinite-hosted alkaline springs in the Voltri Massif, Italy” Lithos. 177:226-244.

Lang S.Q., Früh-Green G.L., Bernasconi S.M, and Wacker L. (2013). Isotopic (δ13C, Δ14C) Analysis of Organic Acids in Seawater Using Wet Chemical Oxidation. L&O: Methods. 11:161-175

Schrenk M.O., Brazelton W.J., and Lang S.Q. (2013) “Serpeninitzation, Carbon, and Deep Life.”  Reviews in Mineralogy and Geochemistry.75(1): 575-606

Lang S.Q., Früh-Green G.L., Bernasconi S.M., and Butterfield D.A (2013). Sources of organic nitrogen at the serpentinite-hosted Lost City hydrothermal field. Geobiology. 11:154-169. DOI: 10.1111/gbi.12026

Lang. S.Q., Früh-Green G.L., Kelley D.S., Lilley M.D., Proskurowski G., and Reeves E.P. (2012) Letter to the Editor: H2/CH4 ratios cannot reliably distinguish abiotic vs. biotic methane in natural hydrothermal systems. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci.

Lang S.Q., Früh-Green G.L., Bernasconi S.M., Lilley M.D., Proskurowski G., Méhay S., and Butterfield D.A. (2012) Microbial utilization of abiogenic carbon and hydrogen in a serpentinite-hosted system. Geochim. et Cosmochim. Acta. 92:82-99.

Lang S.Q., Bernasconi S.M., and Früh-Green G.L. (2012) Stable Isotope Analysis of Organic Carbon in Small (μg) Samples and Dissolved Organic Matter Using a GasBench Preparation Device. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry. 26(1):9-16.

Lang S. Q., Butterfield D. A., Schulte, M. S., Kelley D.S., and Lilley M. D. (2010) Elevated Concentrations of Formate, Acetate and Dissolved Organic Carbon Found at the Lost City Hydrothermal Field. Geochim. et Cosmochim. Acta 74:941-952.

Lang S.Q., Lilley M.D., and Hedges J.I. (2007) A method to measure the isotopic (C-13) composition of dissolved organic carbon using a high temperature combustion instrument. Mar. Chem.10:318 – 326.

Lang S.Q., ButterfieldD.A., LilleyM.D., JohnsonH.P., and HedgesJ.I. (2006) Dissolved Organic Carbon in Ridge-Flank and Ridge-Axis Environments. Geochim. et Cosmochim. Acta 70(15): 3830-3842.

Peterson M.L., Lang S.Q., Aufdenkampe A.K., and Hedges J.I. (2003) “Dissolved organic carbon measurements using a modified high-temperature combustion analyzer” Mar. Chem. Volume 81 (1-2): 89-104.

Johnson, H. P., Baross J., Bjorkland T., Brazelton W., Huber J., Pruis M., Lang S. Q., McCrosky F., Mehta M., Butterfield D., Bowen A., Howland J., Martin W., Roe K., Channing C., Kalk P., Kammerer C., Light R., Miller V., McCarthy M., Moore B., Sharma M., and Voit J. (2003)  “Probing for life in the ocean crust with the LEXEN program” Eos, Trans. AGU., 84:109-112.