Dr Stephen Bowden

Dr Stephen Bowden
Dr Stephen Bowden
Dr Stephen Bowden


Email Address
Telephone Number
+44 (0)1224 273467
School of Geosciences


Stephen is an Organic Geochemist who researches chemcial fossils and sedimentary organic matter and develops novel analytical technologies for chemical analysis. He has worked on international expeditions as a lead sedimentologist and geochemist. He manages a laboratory that conducts consultancy and research. His students start and run businesses and play leading roles in industry, education and their communities.


Memberships and Affiliations

Internal Memberships
  • Course Coorinator GL 4031 (Geochemistry and Geofluids), - a course that along with GL3018 teaches biomarkers, thermal maturiation, biodegredation, basin modelling
  • Geochemistry Laboratory Manager
  • Member of School Health and Safety Committee
  • Radiation Protection Supervisor & Laser Protection Supervisor
  • University Enterprise and Innovation Champion
External Memberships


  • Scientific Advisor – RAB Microfluidics; 2017 - present
  • Technical Advisor – Glensol Enviroklean Solutions 2020 – present


Visiting Researcher Kobe University 2021–2022: 


  • Associate Editor – Frontiers in Organic Geochemistry 2022- present
  • Associate Editor – Journal Marine and Petroleum Geology 2019- 2022
  • Reviewing Editor – Experimental Results 2019- 2023

Key Participation in International Science

  • International Ocean Discovery Program 368 - Lead Geochemist 2017
  • International Ocean Discovery Program 370 - Lead Sedimentologist 2016
  • Integrated Ocean Drilling Program 337 - Ship's Organic Geochemist 2013
  • Integrated Ocean Drilling Program 331 - Ship's Sedimentologist 2011
  • NASA Haughton Mars Project - Geologist 2006

Research Overview

Important Projects and Publications

A range of my research is below. Something recent, something old, something commercial and something applied. Maybe something for anyone; if resources permit (normaly time is limiting factor) I am always willing to collaborate. You can also check out my LinkedIn page - I particularly like catching up with old students and hearing from like-minded strangers (the stranger the better)!


Most recent paper (2024): The perturbation of PAHs on mosses in Aberdeen, Scotland, as a consequence of social restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic. doi.org/10.3389/fgeoc.2023.1320096

My most recent paper is about the measurement of PAH on mosses during the COVID-19 lockdown. Aberdeen does not have its own Environmental PAH monitoring station so instead mosses were used as sampling devices. The changes in pollutant PAH matched changes in traffic as Scotland went in and out of different levels of restriction.

Figure above shows the increases in MMW PAH on mosses in Aberdeen after the Covid-19 restrictions were lifted.


Most cited paper (2005): Biomarker evidence for green and purple sulphur bacteria in a stratified Palaeoproterozoic sea. doi.org/10.1038/nature04068

My most cited paper is about the earliest fossil occurrence (chemical fossil) of a green sulphur bacteria, publsihed at a time when chemical fossils in precambrian rocks were more uncertain than they are now. It involved careful chemical analysis by GC-MS.

m/z 134 ion chromatogram. The i is the peak you are looking for, evidence (at the time, for first fossil occurence of isorenieratane)

Figure above shows the 134 m/z ion chromatogram - the little i is the peak for isorenieratane, evidence for green sulpuhr bacteria.



Most impactful paper (2009): Determination of the asphaltene and carboxylic acid content of a heavy oil using a microfluidic device. doi.org/10.1039/b814495h

This is my most important paper from an economic perspective as its ideas were used to start a company (RAB microfluidics) that attracted > £2 million in start-up funds. The paper is about the design, testing and building of a microfluidic chip and a method to analyse heavy oil. Later the method was used to commercialise a sensor for lubricating oil analysis.

From blue sky idea to product - took a very hard working PhD student (Dr Alabi, 10+ years and input from many others)



Consultancy Work (2023): Detection of nano-particles in oils during waterflood experiments

A local SME asked me to develop a method and use it to detect nano-particles in oil at sub 1% concentrations. The method was applied to both core flood experiments and real time adsorption experiments.


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Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings

Contributions to Conferences

Contributions to Journals

Contributions to Specialist Publications