Christopher Romanek

Laboratory manager

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After receiving a Ph.D. in geology from Texas A&M University in 1991, Romanek accepted a National Research Council Associateship at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, where he studied Archean rocks and extraterrestrial materials. In 1995, he accepted a faculty position at the University of Georgia (UGA), where he worked on environmental problems at the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site. In 1997, he joined the faculty in the Department of Geology at UGA and remained there until 2009, when he accepted a faculty position at the University of Kentucky. In 2015, Romanek returned to Furman University in the Department of Earth and Environmental Science where he continues his NASA-funded research today.

Romanek has published over one hundred peer reviewed articles and book chapters. He has been an invited speaker at over fifty universities and government agencies, held editorial positions for several academic journals, and served as a reviewer and panel member for various US government organizations (e.g., NSF, DOE, NASA, EPA and NOAA) and other international agencies (Natural Environment Research Council, UK; Research Grants Council, Hong Kong, China; Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research; Austrian Science Fund and Czech Science Foundation)

Honors and Awards

  • 2022 H-Index of 40 on Web of Science
  • 1997 Inducted into the J.L. Mann High School Academic Hall of Fame
  • 1996 Letter of Recognition, U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison
  • 1996 Space Pioneer Award, National Space Society
  • 1996 Stellar Award, Rotary National Award for Space Achievement
  • 1996 Laurel Award, Aviation Week
  • 1996 Best science story of 1996, Time Magazine
  • 1996 Top science story, Discovery Magazine
  • 1996 The Best of What’s New, Grand Award Winner, Popular Science Magazine
  • 1996 Certificate of Recognition, NASA/AASE
  • 1985 Grant-in-Aid of Research, Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society
  • 1984 Outstanding Achievement in Research, University of Florida


  • Ph.D., Texas A&M University
  • M.S., University of Florida
  • B.S., Furman University

Research Interests

Romanek’s specialty is low-temperature and aqueous geochemistry, with special emphasis on the stable isotope systematics of elements that play key roles in biogeochemical processes. He has an active research program that spans a broad array of disciplines in the earth, environmental and ecological sciences.



  • Chen X-Y, Teng F-Z, Sanchez W.R., Romanek C.S., Sanchez-Navas A. and Sánchez-Román M. 2020 Experimental constraints on magnesium isotopic fractionation during abiogenic calcite precipitation at room temperature. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 281, 102-117
  • Levitt N.P., Eiler J.M., Romanek C.S., Beard B.L., Xu H. and Johnson C.M. 2018 Near equilibrium 13C-18O bonding during inorganic calcite precipitation under chemo-stat conditions. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 19,
  • Yanes Y., Graves G.R. and Romanek C.S. 2018 Stable isotope ecology (d18O, d13C, d15N) of modern land snails along and altitudinal gradient in southern Appalachian Mountain, USA. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 492, 92-103
  • Li W., Chakraborty S., Beard B.L., Romanek C.S. and Johnson C.M. 2012 Temperature-dependent Mg isotope fractionation during precipitation of inorganic calcite under laboratory conditions. Earth Planet. Sci. Let. 333, 304-316
  • Jimenez-Lopez C., Rodriguez-Navarro C., Perez Gonzalez T., Rodriguez-Navarro A., Bazylinski D.A. and Romanek C.S. 2012 Signatures in magnetite formed by (Ca,Mg,Fe)CO3 thermal decomposition: Terrestrial and extraterrestrial implications. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 87, 69-80
  • Romanek C.S., Morse J.W. and Grossman E.L. 2011 Aragonite precipitation kinetics in dilute solutions. Aquatic Geochemistry 17, 339-356
  • Sánchez-Román M., McKenzie J.A., Rebello Wagener A., Romanek C.S. and Vasconcelos C. 2011 Experimentally determined biomediated Sr partition coefficient for dolomite: Significance and implications for natural dolomite. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 75, 887-904
  • Jimenez-Lopez C., Romanek C.S. and Bazylinski D.A. 2010 Magnetite as a Prokaryotic Biomarker. Journal of Geophysical Research Biogeoscience 115, G00G03
  • Romanek C.S., Jimenez-Lopez C., Rodriguez Navarro A., Sanchez-Roman M., Sahai N. and Coleman M. 2009 Inorganic synthesis of Fe-Ca-Mg carbonates at low temperature. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 73, 5361-5376
  • Carroll M. and Romanek C.S. 2008 Shell layer variation in trace element concentration for the bivalve, Elliptio complanata. Geo-Marine Letters 28, 369-381
  • Jimenez Lopez C., Romanek C.S. and Caballero E. 2006 Carbon isotope fractionation in synthetic magnesian calcite. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 70, 1163-1171
  • Carroll M., Romanek C.S. and Paddock L. 2006 The relationship between the hydrogen and oxygen isotopes of freshwater bivalve shells and their home streams. Chemical Geology 234, 211-222
  • Jimenez-Lopez C., Romanek C.S., Huertas F.J., Ohmoto H. and Caballero E. 2004 Oxygen isotope fractionation in magnesian calcite. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 68, 3367-3377
  • Graves G.R., Romanek C.S. and Rodriguez Navarro A. 2002 Stable isotope signature of philopatry and dispersal in a migratory songbird. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 99, 8096-8100
  • Jimenez Lopez C., Caballero Mesa E., Huertas Puerta F.J. and Romanek C.S. 2001 Chemical, mineralogical and isotopic behavior and phase transformation during the precipitation of calcium carbonate minerals from intermediate ionic strength solutions at 25C. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 65, 3219-3231;
  • Gauldie R.W. and Romanek C.S. 1998 Orange Roughy otolith growth rates: A direct experimental test of the Romanek-Gauldie otolith growth model. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. 120A, 649-653
  • Romanek C.S., Perry E.C., Treiman A.H., Socki R.A., Jones J.H. and Gibson E.K. Jr. 1998 Oxygen isotopic record of silicate alteration in the Shergotty-Nakhla-Chassigny meteorite Lafayette. Meteoritics and Planet. Sci. 33, 775-784
  • Romanek C.S. and Gauldie R.W. 1996 A predictive model of otolith growth in fish based on the chemistry of the endolymph. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. 114A, 71-79
  • McKay D.S., Gibson E.K. Jr., Thomas-Keptra K.L., Vali H., Romanek C.S., Clemett S.J., Chillier X.D.F., Maechling C.R. and Zare R.N. 1996 Search for past life on Mars: Possible relic biogenic activity in Martian Meteorite ALH84001. Science 273, 924-930
  • Romanek C.S., Grady M.M., Wright I.P., Mittlefehldt D.W., Socki R.A., Pillinger C.T. and Gibson E.K. Jr. 1994 Record of fluid-rock interactions on Mars from the meteorite ALH84001. Nature 372, 655-657
  • Romanek C.S., Grossman E.L. and Morse J.W. 1992 Carbon isotopic fractionation in synthetic aragonite and calcite: Effects of temperature and precipitation rate. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 56, 419-430
  • Romanek C.S. and Grossman E.L. 1989 Stable isotope profiles of Tridacna maxima as environmental indicators. Palaios 4, 403-414
  • Romanek C.S., Jones D.S., Williams D.F., Krantz D.E. and Radtke R. 1987 Stable isotopic investigation of physiological and environmental changes recorded in shell carbonate from the giant clam Tridacna maxima. Marine Biology 94, 385-393.