I am interested in understanding biogeochemical cycles of other planets through application of novel isotopic tools.

I am leading a NASA-funded study on the triple-oxygen-isotope composition of sulfate minerals found in Martian meteorites. I also manage the Rice University Stable Isotope Lab, helping students and postdocs analyze stable-isotope abundances in a variety of materials.

Email: Tao.Sun@rice.edu

Tao Sun

Tao Sun

Academic background

  • Ph. D., Geology, Louisiana State University

  • B. S., University of Science and Technology China


  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," submitted.
  2. 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
  3. Sun, T., H. Bao, M. Reich, and S. R. Hemming,"More than ten million years of hyper-aridity recorded in the Atacama gravels," Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 227 (2018) 123-132. doi: 10.1016/j.gca.2018.02.021
  4. Huang, J., L. Feng, X. Chu, T. Sun, H. Wen, L. Qin, and Y. Shen, "A predominantly ferruginous condition in the Ediacaran deep ocean: Geochemistry of black shales in the Ediacaran Doushantuo Formation, South China," Precam. Res. 295 (2017) 12-23. doi: 10.1016/j.precamres.2017.04.019
  5. Sun, T., R. A. Socki, D. L. Bish, R. P. Harvey, H. Bao, P. B. Niles, R. Cavicchioli and E. Tonui, "Lost cold Antarctic deserts inferred from unusual sulfate formation and isotope signatures," Nat. Comm. 6 (2015) 7579. doi: 10.1038/ncomms8579
  6. Sun, T. and H. Bao, "Thermal-gradient induced non-mass-dependent isotope fractionation," Rapid Commun. Mass Spectrom. 25 (2011) 765-773. doi: 10.1002/rcm.4912
  7. Sun, T. and H. Bao, "Non-mass-dependent 17O anomalies generated by a superimposed thermal gradient on a rarefied O2 gas in a closed system," Rapid Commun. Mass Spectrom. 25 (2011) 20-24. doi: 10.1002/rcm.4825
  8. Bao, H., T. Sun, I. Kohl, and Y. Peng, "Comment on 'Early Archaean microorganisms preferred elemental sulfur, not sulfate,'" Science 319 (2008) 1336. doi: 10.1126/science.1151241
  9. Elswick, E. R., J. C. Hower, A. M. Carmo, T. Sun, S. M. Mardon, "Sulfur and carbon isotope geochemistry of coals and derived combustion by-products: An example from an Eastern Kentucky power plant," Appl. Geochem. 22 (2007)2065-2077. doi: 10.1016/j.apgeochem.2007.04.018