Professor Emeritus

Office: 541-737-5208

Weniger Hall

Weniger Hall 555A

103 SW Memorial Place

103 SW Memorial Place
Corvallis, OR 97331

Research Interests

Exploration of the Habitability of Mars with the Mars Science Laboratory - Curiosity Rover.

Microbes in volcanic rocks on Earth.

Volcanic processes in the ocean basins including mid-ocean ridges and ocean islands.

Chemistry, mineralogy, and microbiology of volcanic rocks from the oceans.

The Ocean Drilling Program.

Current Research

Bacteria in volcanic rocks; dynamics of magma chambers on ocean ridges and volcanic islands; mineralogy and chemistry of magmas.

Deep-sea rock-eating bacteria?
From the Ocean Drilling Program's Greatest Hits

Microchannels in a rock from Mars

Life in the deepest layer of the ocean crust


BS, University of Vermont (Physics), 1969
PhD, University of Rhode Island (Oceanography), 1978


Astrobiology: Life Beyond Earth. Upper division undergraduate course. Co-taught with Rick Colwell from 2010 to 2020. The course examines the question, 'Is there life elsewhere in the solar system, galaxy, and universe?'

Responsible Conduct of Research, Graduate Seminar, Lead Instructor 2009 to 2015. The course helps students recognize conflicting ethical values and resolve conflicts related to research collaboration, authorship, data sharing, use of animals, and other topics. 


Fulbright Scholar, Center for Geobiology, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway 2012.


Fisk, M.R., Popa, R., Wacey, D. 2018 Tunnel formation in basalt glass, Astrobiology 19 10.1089/ast.2017.1791. Available on request to

Frydenvang, J., Gasda, P. J., Hurowitz, J. A., Grotzinger, J. P., Weins, R. C. Newsom, H. E., Edgett, K. S., Watkins, J., Bridges, J. C., Maurice, S., Fisk, M. R., Johnson, J. R., Rapin, W., Stein, N. T., Clegg, S. M., Schwenzer, S. P., Bedford, C. C., Edwards, P., Mangold, N., Cousin, A., Anderson, R. B., Payré, V., Vaniman, D, Blake, D. F., Lanza, N. L., Gupta, S., Van Beek, J., Vautter, V., Meslin, P.-Y., Rice, M., Milliken, R., Gellert, R., Thompson, L., Clark, B. C., Sumner, D. Y., Fraeman, A. A., Kinch, K. M., Madsen, M. B., Mitrofanov, I. G., I. Jun, Calef, F., Vasavada, A. R. 2017, Diagenetic silica enrichment and late-stage groundwater activity in Gale Crater, Mars, Geophys. Res. Lett., 44, 4716–4724, doi:10.1002/2017GL073323.

Wacey, D., Fisk, M.R., Saunders, M., Eiloart, K., and Kong, C. 2017 Critical testing of potential cellular structures within microtubes in 145 Ma volcanic glass from the Argo Abyssal Plain. Chemical Geology 10.1016/j.chemgeo.2017.07.006.

Smith, A.R., Fisk, M.R., Thurber, A.R., Flores, G.E., Mason, O.U., Popa, R., and Colwell, F.S. 2016 Deep crustal communities of the Juan de Fuca Ridge are governed by mineralogy, Geomicrobiology Journal 34 , Iss. 2

Fisk, M.R and McLoughlin, N. 2013 Atlas of alteration textures in volcanic glass from the ocean basins, Geosphere, v. 9 p. 317-341.

Fisk M.R, Crovisier, J-L., and Honnorez, J. 2013  Experimental abiotic alteration of igneous and manufactured glasses, Comptes Rendus - Géoscience, Volume 345, p. 176-184.

Stolper, E.M., Baker, M.B., Cousin, A., Dyar, D., Fisk, M., Gellert, R., King, P.L., McLennan, S.M., Minitti. M., Newcombe, M., Perrette, G., Rowland, S., Sauttera, V., Schmidt, M.E., Treiman. A.H., Wiens, R., and the MSL Science Team, 2013 The petrochemistry of Jake_M: a martian mugearite, Science, 341 DOI: 10.1126/science.1239463

Blake, D.F., R.V. Morris, G. Kocurek, S.M. Morrison, R.T. Downs, D. Bish, D.W. Ming, K.S. Edgett, D. Rubin, W. Goetz, M.B. Madsen, R. Sullivan, R. Gellert, I. Campbell, A.H. Treiman, S.M. McLennan, A.S. Yen, J. Grotzinger, D.T. Vaniman, S.J. Chipera, C.N. Achilles, E.B. Rampe, D. Sumner, P.-Y. Meslin, S. Maurice, O. Forni, O. Gasnault, M. Fisk, M. Schmidt, P. Mahaffy, L.A. Leshin, D. Glavin, A. Steele, C. Freissinet, R. Navarro-González, R.A. Yingst, L.C. Kah, N. Bridges, K.W. Lewis, T.F. Bristow, J.D. Farmer, J.A. Crisp, E.M. Stolper, D.J. Des Marais, P. Sarrazin, and MSL Science Team, Curiosity at Gale Crater, Mars: Characterization and analysis of the Rocknest sand shadow, Science, 341(6153):1239505, doi:10.1126/science.1239505, 2013.

Meslin, P.-Y., O. Gasnault, O. Forni, S. Schröder, A. Cousin, G. Berger, S.M. Clegg, J. Lasue, S. Maurice, V. Sautter, S. Le Mouélic, R.C. Wiens, C. Fabre, W. Goetz, D. Bish, N. Mangold, B. Ehlmann, N. Lanza, A.- M. Harri, R. Anderson, E. Rampe, T.H. McConnochie, P. Pinet, D. Blaney, R. Léveillé, D. Archer, B. Barraclough, S. Bender, D. Blake, J.G. Blank, N. Bridges, B.C. Clark, L. DeFlores, D. Delapp, G. Dromart, M.D. Dyar, M. Fisk, B. Gondet, J. Grotzinger, K. Herkenhoff, J. Johnson, J.-L. Lacour, Y. Langevin, L. Leshin, E. Lewin, M.B. Madsen, N. Melikechi, A. Mezzacappa, M.A. Mischna, J.E. Moores, H. Newsom, A. Ollila, R. Perez, N. Renno, J.-B. Sirven, R. Tokar, M. de la Torre, L. d’Uston, D. Vaniman, A. Yingst, and MSL Science Team, Soil diversity and hydration as observed by ChemCam at Gale Crater, Mars, Science, 341 (6153):1238670, doi:10.1126/science.1238670, 2013.Stolper, E.M., Baker, M.B., Cousin, A., Dyar, D., Fisk, M., Gellert, R., King, P.L., McLennan, S.M., Minitti. M., Newcombe, M., Perrette, G., Rowland, S., Sauttera, V., Schmidt, M.E., Treiman. A.H., Wiens, R., and the MSL Science Team, 2013 The petrochemistry of Jake_M: a martian mugearite, Science, 341 DOI: 10.1126/science.1239463

Smith, A., Popa, R., Fisk, M.R., Nielsen, M., Wheat, C.G. Jannasch, H.W. Fisher, A.T., Becker, K., Sievert, S.M. and Flores, G. 2011 In situ enrichment of ocean crust microbes on igneous minerals and glasses using an osmotic flow‐through device, Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems, 12(6), Q06007.

Popa, R. Smith, A.R, Popa, R., Boone, J., and Fisk, M.R., 2011 Olivine-respiring bacteria isolated from the rock-ice interface in a lava-tube cave, a Mars analog environment, Astrobiology. 2012, 12:9-18. doi:10.1089/ast.2011.0639.

Nielsen, M.E., Fisk, M. R. 2010 Surface area measurements of marine basalts: Implications for the subseafloor microbial biomass Geophysical Research Letters, doi:10.1029/2010GL044074, in press.

Heberling, C., Lowell, R P., Liu, L., Fisk, M.R. 2010 Extent of the microbial biosphere in the oceanic crust Geochemisty Geophysics Geosystems, doi:10.1029/2009GC002968.

Mason,O.U., Nakagawa, T., Rosner, M., Van Nostrand, J.D., Zhou, J., Maruyama, A., Fisk, M.R., Giovannoni, S.J. 2010 First investigation of the microbiology of the deepest layer of ocean crust. PLoS One vol. 5, e15399.

Storrie-Lombardi, M.C., Muller J.P., Fisk M.R., Cousins C., Sattler, B., Griffiths A.D., Coates A.J. 2009 Laser-Induced Fluorescence Emission (LIFE): Searching for Mars Organics with a UV-Enhanced PanCam. Astrobiology. 9:953-964.

Mason O.U., Di Meo-Savoie C.A., Van Nostrand J.D., Zhou J.Z., Fisk M.R., Giovannoni S.J, 2009 Prokaryotic diversity, distribution, and insights into their role in biogeochemical cycling in marine basalts ISME Journal, 3:231-242.

Storrie-Lombardi, M.C., Muller, J.P., Fisk, M.R., Griffiths, A.D., Coates, A.J., 2008 Potential for non-destructive astrochemistry using the ExoMars PanCam Geophysical Research Letters, 35:L12201 Published: JUN 20 2008

Mason, O.U., Stingl, U., Wilhelm, L.J., Moeseneder, M.M., Di Meo-Savoie, C.A., Fisk, M.R., Giovannoni, S.J., 2007 The phylogeny of endolithic microbes associated with marine basalts. Environmental Microbiology, 9:2539-2550.

Fisk, M.R., Popa, R., Mason, O., Storrie-Lombardi, M., and Vicenzi, E. 2006 Iron-magnesium silicate bioweathering on Earth (and Mars?) Astrobiology, 6:48-68.

Nielsen, M.E., Fisk, M.R., Istok, J.D.,. Pedersen, K. 2006 Microbial nitrate respiration of lactate at in situ conditions in ground water from a granitic aquifer situated 450 m underground. Geobiology, 4:43-52.

Storrie-Lombardi, M. C. and Fisk, M. R. 2004 Elemental abundance distributions in sub-oceanic basalt glass: evidence of biogenic alteration. Geochem., Geophys., and Geosys. 5(10), Q10005, doi:10.1029/2004GC000755.

Fisk, M. R., Storrie-Lombardi, M. C., Douglas, S., McDonald, G.D., Popa, R., Savoie, C.A. 2003 Evidence of biological activity in Hawaiian subsurface basalts. Geochem., Geophys., and Geosys. 4 (12), 1103, doi:10.1029/2002GC000387.

Fisk, M.R., Kelley, K.A. 2002 Probing the Pacificís oldest MORB glass: mantle chemistry and melting conditions during the birth of the Pacific plate. Earth and Planet. Sci. Lett. 202:741-752.

Fisk, M. R, Thorseth, I.H., Urbach, E., and Giovannoni S.J., 2000 Investigation of microorganisms and DNA from thermal water and rock of Ocean Drilling Program Site 1026. Sci. Results. ODP Leg 168 167-174.

Smith, D.C., Spivack, A.J., Fisk, M.R., Haveman, S.A., and Staudigel, H. 2000 Drilling-induced microbial contamination of deep-sea crust. Geomicrobiology J. 17:207-219.

Keller, R.A., Fisk, M.R., and White, W.M., 2000 Isotopic evidence for late cretaceous plume-ridge interaction at the Hawaiian hotspot. Nature 405:673-676.

Fisk, M.R., and Giovannoni, S.J. 1999 Microbial weathering of igneous rocks: a tool for locating past life on Mars. 30th Lunar and Planetary Sci. Conf. Houston.

Fisk, M. R., and Giovannoni, S. J., 1999 Sources of nutrients and energy for a deep biosphere on Mars. J. Geophys. Res. 104: 11805-11815.

Fisk, M.R., Giovannoni, S.J., and Thorseth, I.H., 1998 Alteration of oceanic volcanic glass: textural evidence of microbial activity. Science 281, 978-980.

Keller, R.A., Fisk, M.R., Duncan, R.A., and White, W.M., 1997 16 m.y. of hotspot and nonhotspot activity on the Patton-Murray seamount platform, Gulf of Alaska, Geology, 25, 511-514.

Giovannoni, S.J., Fisk, M.R., Mullins, T.D., and Furnes, H., 1996 Genetic evidence for endolithic microbial life colonizing basaltic glass-seawater interfaces, Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, Scientific Results, 148, 207-214.

Furnes, H., Thorseth, I.H., Tumyr, O., Torsvik, T., and Fisk, M.R., 1996 Microbial activity in the alteration of glass from pillow lavas from Hole 896A, Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, Scientific Results, 148, 191-206.

Johnson, J., Nielsen, R.L., and Fisk, M.R., 1996 Plagioclase hosted melt inclusions in the Steens Basalt, southeast Oregon, Petrology, 3, 247-254.

Fisk, M.R., McNeill, A.W., Teagle, D.A., Furnes, H., and Bach, W., 1996 Major element chemistry of Leg 148 Hole 896A glass: data report, Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, Scientific Results, 148, 483-487.

Fisk, M.R., Johnson, K.T.M., and Alt, J.C., 1994 The effect of assimilation of altered oceanic crust on magma chemistry: An experimental study. Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, Scientific Results, 140, 43-51.

Johnson, K.T.M., Fisk, M.R., and Naslund, H.R., 1994 Geochemical characteristics of refractory silicate melt inclusions from Leg 140 basalts. Proceedings of the Ocean Drilling Program, Scientific Results, 140, 131-139.

Duncan, R.A., Fisk, M.R., White, W.M., and Nielsen, R.L. 1994 Tahiti: Geochemical evolution of a French Polynesian volcano. Journal of Geophysical Research, 79, 24341-24357.

Fisk, M.R., Duncan, R.A., Fox, C.G., and Witter, J.B., 1993 Emergence and petrology of Mendocino Fracture Zone. Marine Geophysical Researches, 15, 283-296.

Keller, R.A., Fisk, M.R., White, W.M., and Birkenmajer, K., 1992 Isotopic and trace element constraints on mixing and melting models of marginal basin volcanism, Bransfield Strait, Antarctica. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 111, 287-303.

Rona, P.A., Denlinger, R.P., Fisk, M.R., Howard, K.J., Taghon, G.L., Klitgord, K.D., McClain, J.S., McMurray, G.R., and Wiltshire, J., 1990 Major off-axis hydrothermal activity on the northern Gorda Ridge, Geology, 18, 493-496.

Fisk, M.R. 1990 Backarc volcanism in the Bransfield Strait, Antarctica. Journal of South American Geology, 3, 91-101.

Fisk, M.R., A.N. Baxter, R.A. Duncan, J.D. Greenough, R.B. Hargraves, Y. Tatsumi and Shipboard Scientific Party, 1989. Deccan-Reunion hotspot magma chemistry over the past 65 M.Y.: Results from Leg 115 of the Ocean Drilling Program. Geology, 17, 934-937.

Fisk, M.R., B.G.J. Upton, C.E. Ford and W.M. White, 1988. Geochemical and experimental study of the genesis of magmas of Reunion Island, Indian Ocean. Journal of Geophysical Research, 95, 4933-4950.

Fisk, M.R., 1986. Basalt interaction with harzburgite and the formation of high-Mg andesites. Geophysical Research Letters, 14 467-470.