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Bruce W. Fouke

Professor, Geology, Microbiology, and Institute for Genomic Biology
Director, Roy J. Carver Biotechnology Center
University of Illinois
1206 West Gregory Drive
Urbana, IL  61801

(217) 244-5431

Biographical Information

  • B.Sc. (Geosciences), Bradley University, Peoria, 1982
  • M.Sc. (Geosciences), University of Iowa, Iowa City, 1984
  • M.Sc. (Paleobiology), University of Chicago, Chicago, 1986
  • Ph.D. (Geosciences), State University of New York, Stony Brook, 1993
  • Postdoctoral (Geosciences), Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, 1993-1996
  • Postdoctoral (Geosciences), University of California, Berkeley, 1996
  • Postdoctoral (Exobiology), NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, 1997


Bruce Fouke is a Professor in the Departments of Geology and Microbiology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.  His latest research interests are to determine how organic macromolecules produced by bacteria and corals affect the precipitation of CaCO3 biominerals during rapid environmental changes in temperature and oxygen concentration. The natural laboratories for this work are travertine hot springs in Yellowstone and coral reef ecosystems of the Netherlands Antilles. Results are providing fundamental new knowledge of the extent to which feedbacks between minerals, metazoans (coral) and thermophilic bacteria control the CaCO3 biomineralization process. This in turn will permit his group to establish more precise predictive models of how coral reef ecosystems will respond over the next 100 years to global warming, and improve their search for and interpretation of microbial life on the early earth and other planets. A holistic integration of geological, hydrochemical, genomic, and proteomic approaches is being used to determine the macromolecular chemistry of mucus secreted by these organisms, while identifying mechanistic links between organismal health, mucus chemical composition and the formation rates and crystalline architecture of CaCO3 biominerals.  Information gained from field and lab kinetic experimentation, mucus and mineral structural-chemical analyses, and genomic scans of metazoan and microbial communities is being used to parameterize predictive models that quantitatively describe global CaCO3 biomineralization in terrestrial and marine settings.

Selected Publications

  1. Fouke, B.W., 2011. Hot-Spring Systems Geobiology: Abiotic and Biotic Influences on Travertine Formation at Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park, USA. Sedimentology, 58:170-219.
  2. Inskeep, W.P., Rusch, D.B., Jay, Z., Herrgard, M.J., Kozubal, M.A., Richardson, T.B., macur, R.E., Hamamura, N., Jennings, R., Fouke, B.W., Reysenbach, A.L., Roberto, F., Young, M., Bateson, M., Schwartz, A., Boyd, E., Badger, J., Geesey, G., Mathur, E., Frazier, M., 2010, Metagenomes from high-temperature chemotrophic systems reveal importance of geochemical controls on microbial community structure and function. PLoS One 5(3):1-15.
  3. Kandianis, M., Fouke, B.W., Johnson, R., Veysey, J., Inskeep, W., 2008. Microbial biomass: a catalyst of CaCO3 precipitation in advectively dominated regimes. GSA Bulletin, Vol. 119 (12) in press. DOI: 10.1130/B26188.1
  4. Zhang, C.L., Fouke, B.W., Bonheyo, G.T., White, D., Huang, Y., and Romanek, C.S., 2004, Lipid biomarkers and carbon isotopes of modern travertine deposits (Yellowstone National Park, USA): Implications for biogeochemical dynamics in hot-spring systems: Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. Vol. 68, p. 3157-3169.