University of California, Riverside

Earth Sciences

Department of Earth Sciences



Marilyn L. Fogel


Marilyn Fogel

Wilbur W. Mayhew Endowed Professor of Geoecology
Director, EDGE Institute

Ph.D., Botany (Marine Sciences), University of Texas at Austin
B.S. Biology, Pennsylvania State University

Specialty: Stable isotope biogeochemistry and ecology; Paleoecology; Astrobiology

Email: marilyn.fogel@ucr.edu
Phone: (209) 205-6743
Office: Geology 1230
Lab: Geology 1408




Research Interests:


Stable isotopes of the biologically relevant elements are powerful tools for tracing ecological and geochemical processes on Earth and in planetary materials and environments. My research for nearly 40 years has concentrated on understanding the flow of elements through modern biogeochemical cycles using stable isotope compositions of organic and inorganic matter as tracers. As I researched elemental cycling in modern ecosystems, I applied this knowledge to understanding how biogeochemical cycles functioned over Earth's history. My research extends to the fields of paleontology and to astrobiology - searching for evidence of life in the Universe beyond our planet. Inherent in most of the work that I do is the concept of the Earth as a constantly changing entity.

Current Projects and Research Opportunities:

My experimental work now focuses on the physiological underpinnings of isotope fractionation by animals, plants, and microbes. One area of active research seeks to understand the role of the microflora in the isotopic fingerprinting of amino acids in animal tissues. I am exploring how dietary changes alter the gut microflora in simple animal models. This work could have important public health implications related to how the human gut microbiome influences human physiology at the molecular scale. These investigations are conducted by determining the compound specific isotopic composition of hydrogen, carbon, and nitrogen in amino acids.

Applications of my research extend to many questions that are geobiological in nature. My previous work on understanding how microbial populations fractionate stable isotopes is a good example (Scott et al. 2005; Smith et al., 2015 a and b). Novel microbial biosynthetic pathways produce major changes in hydrogen isotope compositions of both lipid biomarkers and amino acids. I am initiating a research project to understand hydrogen isotope systematics in whole microbial cells and isolated components.

My field studies in modern ecosystems concentrate in three areas: the UC Merced Vernal Pools and Grasslands Reserve, the Cosumnes River restoration project, and the Southern Sierra Critical Zone Observatory. Graduate students and postdocs work with me on these multi-disciplinary, collaborative projects. In the recent past I worked with colleagues at the San Diego Museum of Natural History on the biological resurvey study of the San Jacinto Mountains. I plan to continue these modern and historical ecosystem investigations at other UC Reserves around the state. I am starting to develop new projects in Southern California, e.g. the Salton Sea.

Current projects in Pleistocene paleoecology are concentrated in two major areas. The first—understanding the role of humans in effecting continental scale ecosystem and climate changes in Australia—is an area of research that I have engaged in for over twenty years. We've published numerous papers on animal extinctions, potential influence of humans on the ecosystem, and long-term records of precipitation, vegetation, and climate. I am also investigating of the relationship that climate change has on early civilizations and political entities in the Horn of Africa continuing a project in Ethiopia collecting soil samples as part of an interdisciplinary team of archaeologists, fire ecologists, and organic geochemists. We anticipate that our findings will be able to determine whether the rise and fall of Ethiopian civilizations had been influenced by global and continental climate changes in the past 10,000 years.

Silver, B. J., Raymond, R., Sigman, D. M., Prokopenko, M., Sherwood Lollar, B., Lacrampe-Couloume, G., Fogel, M. L., Pratt, L.M., Lefticariu, L. and Onstott, T.C., 2012, The origin of NO3- and N2 in deep subsurface fracture water of South Africa. Chem. Geol. 294: 51-62.

Steele, A., F. M. McCubbin, M. Fries, L. Kater, N. Z. Boctor, M. L. Fogel, P. G. Conrad, M. Glamoclija, M. Spencer, A. L. Morrow, M. R. Hammond, R. N. Zare, E. P Vicenzi, S. Siljestrom, R. Bowden, C. D. K. Herd, B. O. Mysen, S. B. Shirey, H. E. F. Amundsen, A. H. Treiman, E. S. Bullock, A. J. T Jull, 2012. A reduced organic carbon component in martian basalts. Science 337: 212-215.

Alexander, C. M. O.'D., R. Bowden, M. L. Fogel, K. T. Howard, C. D. K. Herd, and L. R. Nittler, 2012. The provenances of asteroids, and their contributions to the volatile inventories of the terrestrial planets. Science 337: 721-723.

Guy, B. M., S. Ono, J. Gutzmer, A. J. Kaufman, Y. Lin, M. L. Fogel, and N. J. Beukes, 2012. A multiple sulfur and organic carbon isotope record from non-conglomeratic sedimentary rocks of the Mesoarchean Witwatersrand Supergroup, South Africa. Precambrian Res. 216-219: 208-231.

Riccialdelli, L., S. D. Newsome, R. N. P. Goodall, M. L. Fogel, and R. Bastida, 2012. Insight into niche separation of Risso's dolphin (Grampus griseus) in the southwestern South Atlantic via δ13C and δ15N values. Marine Mammal Sci. 28: E503-E515.

Wolf, N. S. D. Newsome, M. L. Fogel, C. Martinez del Rio, 2012. An experimental exploration of the incorporation of hydrogen isotopes from dietary sources into avian tissue. The J. Exp. Biol. 215: 1915-1922.

Kish, A., P. L. Griffin, K. L. Rogers, M. L. Fogel, R. J. Hemley, and A. Steele, 2012. High-pressure tolerance in Halobacterium salinarum NRC-1 and other non-piezophilic prokaryotes. Extremophiles 16: 355-361.

Glamoclija, M. L. Fogel, A. Steele, and A. Kish, 2012. Microbial nitrogen and sulfur cycles at the gypsum dunes of White Sands National Monument, New Mexico. Geomicrobiol. J. 29: 733-751.

Freeman, C. J., R. W. Thacker, D. M. Baker, and M. L. Fogel, 2013. Quality or quantity: is nutrient transfer driven more by symbiont identity and productivity than by symbiont abundance? The ISME J. 7: 1116-1125.

Wolf, N., S. D. Newsome, M. L. Fogel, and C. Martinez del Rio, 2013. The relationship between drinking water and the hydrogen and oxygen stable isotope values of tissues in Japanese quail (Cortunix japonica). The Auk 130: 323-330.

Liberoff, A. L., C. M. Riva Rossi, M. L. Fogel, J. E. Ciancio, M. A. Pascual, 2013. Shifts in δ15N signature following the onset of exogenous feeding in rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss: importance of combining length and age data. J. Fish Biol. 82: 1423-1432.

Tyrrell, L. P., S. D. Newsome, M. L. Fogel, M. Viens, R. Bowden, and M. J. Murray, 2013. Vibrissae growth rates and trophic discrimination factors in captive southern sea otters (Enhydra lutris nereis). J. Mammalogy 94: 331-338.

Agee, C. B., N. V. Wilson, F. M. McCubbin, K. Ziegler, V. J. Polyak, Z. D. Sharp, Y. Asmerom, M. H. Nunn, R. Shaheen, M. H. Thiemens, A. Steele, M. L. Fogel, R. Bowden, M. Glamoclija, Z. Zhang, and S. E. Elardo, 2013.Unique meteorite from Early Amazonian Mars: water-rich basaltic breccia Northwest Africa. Science 339: 780-785.

Papineau, D., R. Purohit, M. L. Fogel, and G. A. Shields-Zhou, 2013. High phosphate availability as a possible cause for massive cyanobacterial production of oxygen in the Paleoproterozoic atmosphere. Earth and Planet. Sci. Lett. 362: 225-236.

Stern, J. C., A. C. McAdam, I. L. Ten Kate, D. L. Bish, D. F. Blake, R. V. Morris, R> Bowden, M. L. Fogel, M. Glamoclija, P. R. Mahaffy, A. Steele, and H. E. F. Amundsen, 2013. Isotopic and geochemical investigation of two distinct Mars analog environments using evolved gas techniques in Svalbard, Norway. Icarus 224: 297-308.

Fogel, M. L. and A. Steele, 2013. Nitrogen in extraterrestrial environments: Clues to the possible presence of life. Elements 9: 367-372.

Alexander, C. M. O.'D., K. T. Howard, R. Bowden, and M. L. Fogel, 2013. The classification of CM and CR chondrites using bulk H, C, and N abundance and isotopic compositions. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta,123: 244-260.

Redding, J. E., R. L. Myers-Miller, D. M. Baker, M. Fogel, L. J. Raymundo, and K. Kim, 2013. Link between sewage-derived nitrogen pollution and coral disease severity in Guam. Marine Pollution Bulletin 73: 57-63.

Riccialdelli, L., S. D. Newsome, N. A. Dellabianca, R. Bastida, M. L. Fogel, and R. N. Goodall, 2013. Ontogenetic shift in Commerson's dolphin (Cephalorhynchus commersonii commersonii) off Tierra del Fuego. Polar Biology 36: 617-627.

Baker, D. M., J. P. Andras, A.G. Jordan-Garza, M. L. Fogel, 2013. Nitrate competition in a coral symbiosis varies with temperature among Symbiodinium clades. The ISME J. 7: 1248-1251.

Baker, D. M., L. Weight, M. Fogel, and N. Knowlton, 2013. Ancient DNA from coral-hsted Symbiodinium reveal a static mutualism over the last 172 years. PLOS One 8: e55057.

Baker, D. M., R. E. Rodriquez-Martinez, and M. L. Fogel, 2013. Tourism's nitrogen footprint on a Mesoamerican coral reef. Coral Reefs: DOI 10.1007/s00338-013-1040-2.

Wang, Y., P. Griffin, K. Jin, M. L. Fogel, A. Steele, and G. D. Cody, 2013. Tracing H isotope effects in the dynamic metabolic network using multi-nuclear (1H, 2H and 13C) solid state NMR and GC-MS. Org. Geochem. 57: 84-94.

Bebout, G. E., M. L. Fogel, and P. Cartigny, 2013. Nitrogen: Highly volatile yet surprisingly compatible. Elements 9: 333-338.

Ziegler, S. E., S. A. Billings, C. S. Lane, J. Li, and M. L. Fogel, 2013. Warming alters routing of labile and slower-turnover carbon through distinct microbial groups in boreal forest organic soils. Soil Biol. Biochem. 60: 23-32.

DeBond, N., M. L. Fogel, P. L. Morrill, R. Benner, R. Bowden, and S. Ziegler, 2013. Variable δD values among major biochemical in plants: Implications for environmental studies. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 111: 117-127.

Terwilliger, V. J., Z. Eshetu, J.-R. Disnar, J. Jacob, W. P. Adderley, Y. Huang, M. Alexandre, and M. L. Fogel, 2013. Environmental changes and the rise and fall of civilizations in the northern Horn of Africa: an approach combining δD analyses of land-plant derived fatty acids with multiple proxies in soil. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 111: 140-161.

Starke, V., J. Kirshtein, M. L. Fogel, and A. Steele, 2013. Microbial community composition and endolith colonization at an Artic thermal spring are driven by calcite precipitation. Environmental Microbiology Reports DOI: 10.1111/1758-2229.12063.

Morrill, P. L., J. G. Kuenen, O. J. Johnson, S. Suzuki, A. Rietze, A. L. Sessions, M. L. Fogel, and K. H. Nealson, 2013. Geochemistry and geobiology of a present-day serpentinization site in California: The Cedars. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 109: 222-240.

Smith, D., J. Scott, A. Steele, G. Cody, S. Ohara, and M. Fogel, 2013. Effects of metabolism and physiology on the production of okenone and bacteriochlorophyll a in purple sulfur bacteria. Geomicrobiol. J.31: 128-137.

Gupta, N. S., Q. Leng, H. Yang, G. D. Cody, M.L. Fogel, W. Liu, and G Sun, 2013, Molecular preservation and bulk isotopic signals of ancient rice from the Neolithic Tianluoshan site, lower Yangtze River valley, China. Org. Geochem. 63: 85-93.

Gupta, N. S., A. Steele, M. Fogel, P. Griffin, M. Adams, R.E. Summons, H Yang, G. D. Cody, 2014, Experimental formation of geomacromolecules from microbial lipids. Org. Geochem. 67: 35-40.

Liberoff, A. L., J. A. Miller, C. M. Riva Rossi, F. J. Hidalgo, M. L. Fogel, and M. A. Pascual, 2013, Transgenerational effects of anadromy on juvenile growth traits in an introduced population of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Canadian J. of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 71: 398-407.

Refsnider, K. A., G. H. Miller, M. L. Fogel, B. Frechette, R. Bowden, J. T. Andrews, G. L. Farmer, 2014. Subglacially precipitated carbonates record geochemical interactions and pollen preservation at the base of the Laurentide Ice Sheet on central Baffin Island, eastern Canadian Arctic. Quaternary Res. 81: 94-105.

Alexander, C. M. O'D., G. D. Cody, Y. Kebukawa, R. Bowden, M. L. Fogel, A. L. D. Kilcoyne, L. R. Nittler, C. D. K. Herd, 2014. Elemental, isotopic, and structural changes in Tagish Lake insoluble organic matter produced by parent body processes. Meteoritics and Planetary Sci. 49: 503-525.

Newsome, S. D., N. Wolf, J. Peters, and M. L. Fogel, 2014. Amino acid δ13C analysis shows flexibility in the routing of dietary protein and lipids to the tissue of an omnivore. Integrative and comparative biology 54: 890-902.

Graham, H. V., M. E. Patzkowsky, S. L. Wing, G. G. Parker, M. L. Fogel, and K. H. Freeman, 2014. Isotopic characteristics of canopies in simulated leaf assemblages. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 144: 82-95.

Nance, J. R, J. T. Armstrong, G. D. Cody, M. L. Fogel, and R. M. Hazen, 2015. Presercved macroscopic polymeric sheets of shell-binding protein in the Middle Miocene (8 to 18 Ma) gastropod Ecphora, Geochemical Perspective Letters 1, 1-9.

Purohit, R. , D. Papineau, P. Meta, M. Fogel, C. V. D. Rao, 2015. Study of calc-silicate rocks of the Hammer-Head Syncline from southern Sandmata Complex, Northwestern India: Implications on the existence of an Archaean protolith. J. Geol. Soc. India 85: 215-231.

Smith, D. A., A. Steele, R. Bowden, and M. L. Fogel, 2015. Ecologically and geologically relevant isotope signatures of C, N, and S: okenone producing purple sulfur bacteria part I. Geobiology 13: 278-291.

Smith, D. A., A. Steele, and M. L. Fogel, 2015. Pigment production and isotopic fractionations in continuous culture: okenone producing purple sulfur bacteria Part II. Geobiology 14: 292-301.

Baker, D.M., C. J. Freeman, N. Knowlton, R. W. Thacker, K. Kim, M. L. Fogel, 2015. Productivity links morphology, symbiont specificity, and bleaching in the evolution of Caribbean octocoral symbioses. The ISME Journal 2015: 1-10. (4 Citations)

Alexander, C. M. O.'D., R. Bowden, M. L. Fogel, and K. T. Howard, 2015. Carbonate abundances and isotopic compositions in chondrites. Meteoritics and Planetary Science 50: 810-833. (9 Citations)

Florian, C. R., G. H. Miller, M. L Fogel, A. P. Wolfe, R. D. Vinebrooke, Á. Geirsdóttir, 2015. Algal pigments in Arctic lake sediments record biogeochemical changes due to Holocene climate variability and anthropogenic global change. J. Paleolimnology 54: 53-69.

Scharler, U. M., R. E. Ulanowicz, M. L. Fogel, M. J. Wooller, M. E. Jacobsen-Myers, C. E. Lovelock, I. E. Feller, M. Frischer, R. Lee, K. McKee, I. C. Romero, J. P. Schmit, and C. Shearer, 2015. Variable nutrient stoichiometry (carbon:nitrogen:phosphorus) across trophic levels determines community and ecosystem properties in an oligotrophic mangrove system. Oecologia 179: 863-876. (1 Citation)

Wolf, N., S. D. Newsome, J. Peters, and M. L. Fogel, 2015. Variability in the routing of dietary proteins and lipids to consumer tissues influences tissue-specific discrimination. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometery 29: 1448-1456. (2 Citations)

Papineau, D., B. DeGregorio, S. Fearn, D. Kilcoyne, G. McMahon, R. Purohit, and M. Fogel, 2015. Nanoscale petrographic and geochemical insights on the origin of the Paleoproterozoic stromatolitic phosphorites from Aravalli Supergroup, India, Geobiology 14: 3-32. (1 Citation)

Miller, G. H., J. Magee, M. Smith, N. Spooner, A. Baynes, S. Lehman, M. Fogel, H. Johnston, D. Williams, P. Clark, C. Florian, R. Holst, S. DeVogel, 2016. Human predation contributed to the extinction of the Australian megafaunal bird Genyornis newtonii 47 ka. Nature Communications 7: doi 10.1038/ncomms 10496. (4 Citations)

McCorkle, E. P., A. A. Berhe, C. T. Hunsaker, D. W. Johnson, K. J. McFarlane, M. L Fogel, S. C. Hart, 2016. Tracing the source of soil organic matter eroded from temperate forest catchments using carbon and nitrogen isotopes. Chem. Geol., in press.

Osburn, M. R., K. S. Dawson, M. L. Fogel, and A. Sessions, 2016. Fractionation of hydrogen isotopes by sulfate- and nitrate-reducing bacteria. Frontiers of Microbiology doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2016.01166, online version.

Fogel, M. L., P. L. Griffin, S. D. Newsome, 2016. Hydrogen isotopes in individual amino acids reflect differentiated pools of hydrogen from food and water in Escherichia coli. PNAS doi: 10.1073/pnas.1525703113, published online.

Riccialdelli, L. , S. D. Newsome, M. L. Fogel, D. Fernandez, 2016. Trophic interactions and food web structure of a subantarctic marine food web in the Beagle Channel: Bahia Lapatia, Argentina. Polar Biology doi 10.1007/s00300-016-2007-x, online version.

Baker, D. M., T. J. Murdoch, I. Conte-Jerpe, M. Fogel, 2016. Investigating Bermuda's pollution history through stable isotope analyses of modern and museum-held gorgonian corals. Marine Pollution Bulletin, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.marpolbul.2016.08.069.

Miller, G. H. and M. L. Fogel, 2016. Calibrating d18O in Dromaius novaehollandiae (emu) eggshell calcite as a paleo-aridity proxy for the Quaternary of Australia. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 193: 1-13.

Miller, G.H., M. L. Fogel, J. W. Magee, M. K. Gagan, 2016. Disentangling the impacts of climate and human colonization on the flora and fauna of the Australian arid zone over the past 100 ka using stable isotopes in avian eggshell. Quaternary Sci. Rev. 51: 27-57.

Hu, Y., A. A. Berhe, M. L. Fogel, G. J. Heckrath, N. J. Juhn, 2016, Transport-distance specific SOC distribution: Does it skew erosion induced C fluxes? Biogeochemistry 128: 339-351.

Newsome, S.D., N. Wolf, C. J. Bradley, and M. L. Fogel, 2016. Assimilation and isotopic discrimination of hydrogen in tilapia: implications for studying animal diet with δ2H. Ecosphere, in press, 11/11/2016.

Decima, M., M. Landry, C. Bradley, and M. Fogel, 2016, Elevated d15N in alanine shows widespread contribution of heterotrophic protists to pelagic wood webs. Limnol. Oceonogr., in revision 11/7/2016.

Araya, S. N., M. L. Fogel, and A.A. Berhe, 2016, Thermal alteration of soil organic matter properties: a systematic study to infer response of Sierra Nevada climosequence soils to forest fires. Soil doi: 10.5194/soil-2016-57, in revision 11/16/2016.

Cousins, C. R., M. L. Fogel, R. Bowden, A. Boyce, C. S. Cockrell, M. Gunn, I. A. Crawford, 2016, Biogeochemical probing of prokaryotic communities in an ice-bound hot spring at Vatnajokull glacier, Icealnd, Geeobiology, submitted 10/22/2016.

Perez-Rodriguez, I., S. M. Sievert, M. L. Fogel, and D. I. Foustoukos, 2016, Rate−yield trade-offs and nitrogen isotope fractionation during dissimilatory nitrate reduction are conserved among chemolithoautotrophic deep-sea vent ε-Proteobacteria and Aquificae. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta, in revision, 11/16/2016.

Miller, G. H., M. L. Fogel, J. W. Magee, and S. J. Clarke, 2016, The Genyornis Egg: A commentary on Grellet-Tinner et al., 2016, Quaternary Sci. Rev., submitted 11/11/16.

Florian, C., S. Crump, A. Gerisdottir, G. Miller, K. Zalzal, M. Fogel, 2016. Catchment geometry influences proxy response in late Holocene records from two proximal lakes located in north Iceland. J. of Paleolim., submitted 5/31/2016.

More Information

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

UCR LibrariesCampus Status
Career OpportunitiesDiversity
Visit UCRMaps and Directions

Earth Sciences Information

Department of Earth Sciences
Geology Building

Tel: (951) 827-3434
Fax: (951) 827-4324
E-mail: john.herring@ucr.edu

Footer