Laurence Y. Yeung

Maurice Ewing Career Development Associate Professor in Earth Systems Science

Room Number: 321
(713) 348-6304
Google Scholar Link

Biographical Info

My research focuses on Earth's atmospheric and biogeochemical cycles. Specifically, I use stable isotopes to understand processes ranging from stratospheric chemistry to carbon cycling in the oceans. My expertise also includes public engagement in science: I was a founding producer for PHD TV, an online-based science outreach venture led by Jorge Cham (creator of PHD Comics). My animated video, Teamwork in the Tropical Atlantic (a collaboration with Meg Rosenburg), was a finalist in the 2014 BLUE Ocean Film Festival and won second place in the 2014 Ocean180 video contest. I received my B.A. in chemistry from Oberlin College and Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the California Institute of Technology.


NSF Earth Sciences Postdoctoral Fellow, UCLA 2011 - 2013
Postdoctoral Research Associate, USC 2010
Ph.D., Physical Chemistry, California Institute of Technology 2010
B.A., Chemistry (with Highest Honors), Oberlin College 2004

Awards & Honors

NSF CAREER Award, 2020-2025
Environmental Science & Technology Best Paper Award (First Runner-Up), 2019
David and Lucile Packard Foundation Science & Engineering Fellow, 2017
F. W. Clarke Medal, Geochemical Society, 2016
Christine Mirzayan Science & Technology Policy Fellowship, National Academy of Sciences, 2014
NSF Earth Sciences Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2011 – 2013
Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi, 2004


Stable and clumped isotopes, atmospheric chemistry, chemical oceanography, oxygen

Selected Publications


  • Hassanzadeh, P., C.-Y. Lee, E. Nabizadeh, S. J. Camargo, D. Ma, and L. Y. Yeung, “Effects of climate change on the movement of future landfalling Texas tropical cyclones,” Nat. Commun. 11 (2020) 3319.
  • Ash, J. L., H. Hu, and L. Y. Yeung, "What fractionates oxygen isotopes during respiration? Insights from multiple isotopologues and theory," ACS Earth Space Chem. 4 (2020) 50-66. doi: 10.1021/acsearthspacechem.9b00230.


  • Yeung, L. Y., L. T. Murray, P. Matinerie, E. Witrant, H. Hu, A. Banerjee, A. Orsi, and J. Chappelaz, "Isotopic constraint on the twentieth-century increase in tropospheric ozone," Nature 570 (2019) 224-227. doi: 10.1038/s41586-019-1277-1
  • Yeung, L. Y., J. A. Haslun, N. E. Ostrom, T. Sun, E. D. Young, M. A. H. J. van Kessel, S. Lücker, and M. S. M. Jetten, "In situ quantification of biological N2 production using naturally occurring 15N15N," Environ. Sci. Technol. 53 (2019) 5168-5175. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.9b00812
  • Li, B., L. Y. Yeung, H. Hu, and J. L. Ash, "Kinetic and equilibrium fractionation of O2 isotopologues during air-water gas transfer and implications for tracing oxygen cycling in the ocean," Mar. Chem. 210 (2019) 61-71. doi: 10.1016/j.marchem.2019.02.006


  • Yeung, L. Y., J. A. Hayles, H. Hu, J. L. Ash, and T. Sun, “Scale distortion from pressure baselines as a source of inaccuracy in triple-isotope measurements,” Rapid Commun. Mass Spectrom. 32 (2018) 1811-1821. doi: 10.1002/rcm.8247


  • Yeung, L. Y., "Low oxygen and argon in the Neoproterozoic atmosphere at 815 Ma," Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 480 (2017) 66-74. doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2017.09.044
  • Yeung., L. Y., S. Li, I. E. Kohl, J. A. Haslun, N. E. Ostrom, H. Hu, E. A. Schauble, T. P. Fischer, and E. D. Young, “Extreme enrichment in atmospheric 15N15N,” Sci. Adv. 3 (2017) eaao6741.
  • Young, E. D., I. E. Kohl, B. Sherwood Lollar, G. Etiope, D. Rumble III, S. Li, M. A. Haghnegahdar, E. A. Schauble, K. A. McCain, D. I. Foustoukus, C. Sutclife, O. Warr, C. J. Ballentine, T. C. Onstott, H. Hosgormez, A. Neubeck, J. M. Marques, I. Pérez-Rodríguez, A. R. Rowe, D. E. LaRowe, C. Magnabosco, L. Y. Yeung, J. L. Ash, and L. T. Bryndzia, “The relative abundances of resolved 12CH2D2 and 13CH3D and mechanisms controlling isotopic bond ordering in abiotic and biotic methane gases,” Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 207 (2017) 235-264.


  • Yeung, L. Y., L. T. Murray, J. L. Ash, E. D. Young, K. A. Boering, E. L. Atlas, S. M. Schauffler, R. A. Lueb, R. L. Langenfelds, P. B. Krummel, L. P. Steele, and S. D. Eastham, “Isotopic ordering in atmospheric O2 as a tracer of ozone photochemistry and the tropical atmosphere,” J. Geophys. Res. Atmos. 121 (2016) 12,541-12,559.
  • Lee, C. T. A., L. Y. Yeung, R. McKenzie, Y. Yokoyama, K. Ozaki, and A. Lenardic, “The rise in atmospheric oxygen linked to the emergence of continents,” Nature Geosci. 9 (2016) 421-427.
  • Yeung, L. Y.,“Combinatorial effects on clumped isotopes and their significance in biogeochemistry,” Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 172 (2016), 22-38. doi: 10.1016/j.gca.2015.09.020


  • Yeung, L. Y., J. L. Ash, and E. D. Young, “Biological signatures in clumped isotopes of O2,” Science 348 (2015), 431-434. doi: 10.1126/science.aaa6284. Equal contributions
  • Yeung, L. Y., W. M. Berelson, D. E. Hammond, M. G. Prokopenko, C. Wolfe, and N. Rollins, “Upper-ocean gas dynamics from radon profiles in the Eastern Tropical South Pacific,” Deep-Sea Res. Pt. I. 99 (2015), 35-45. doi: 10.1016/j.dsr.2015.01.008.

2003 - 2014

  • Yeung, L. Y., J. L. Ash, and E. D. Young, “Rapid photochemical equilibration of isotopic bond ordering in O2,” J. Geophys. Res. 119 (2014), D021909. doi: 10.1002/2014JD021909.
  • Young, E. D., L. Y. Yeung, and I. E. Kohl, “On the Δ17O budget of atmospheric O2,” Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta. 135 (2014), 102-125. doi: 10.1016/j.gca.2014.03.026
  • Yeung, L. Y., E. D. Young, and E. A. Schauble, “Measurements of 18O18O and 17O18O in the atmosphere and the influence of isotope-exchange reactions,” J. Geophys. Res. 117 (2012): D18306. doi: 10.1029/2012JD017992
  • Yeung, L. Y., W. M. Berelson, E. D. Young, M. G. Prokopenko, N. Rollins, V. J. Coles, J. P. Montoya, E. J. Carpenter, D. K. Steinberg, R. A. Foster, D. G. Capone, and P. L. Yager, “Impact of diatom-diazotroph assemblages on carbon export in the Amazon river plume,” Geophys. Res. Lett. 39 (2012): L18609. doi: 10.1029/2012GL053356
  • Prokopenko, M. G., O. Paulius, J. Granger, and L. Y. Yeung, “Exact evaluation of gross photosynthetic production from the oxygen triple-isotope composition of O2: Implications for the net-to-gross primary production ratios,” Geophys. Res. Lett. 38 (2011): L14603. doi: 10.1029/2011GL047652
  • Huntington, K. W., J. M. Eiler, H. P. Affek, W. Guo, M. Bonafacie, L. Y. Yeung, N. Thiagarajan, B. Passey, A. Tripati, M. Daëron, R. Came, "Methods and limitations of 'clumped' CO2 isotope (Δ47) analysis by gas source isotope ratio mass spectrometry," J. Mass Spectrom. 44 (2009): 1318-1329. doi: 10.1002/jms.1002
  • Yeung, L. Y., H. P. Affek, K. J. Hoag, W. Guo, A. A. Wiegel, E. L. Atlas, S. M. Schauffler, M. Okumura, K. A. Boering, and J. M. Eiler, "Large and unexpected enrichment in stratospheric 16O13C18O and its meridional variation," Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 106 (2009): 11496-11501. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0902930106; Erratum Equal contributions
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