Fabien Kenig

Sometimes identified as an organic geochemist or a biogeochemist, I prefer to consider myself an Earth scientist. I use organic and stable isotope geochemistry as a tool to address issues in earth and environmental sciences. The Organic Geochemistry Laboratory at UIC is equipped to isolate, quantify, and identify organic compounds collected in samples from the geosphere. Presently, my major concentration is on paleoceanography. Biomarkers (molecular fossils) are used to define the paleo-water column structure in ancient oceans in order to provide strong constraints for paleoceanographic circulation reconstruction of Jurassic and Cretaceous epicontinental seas.

Another project uses biomarkers as proxies for paleoceanographic/paleoclimatic changes during the Holocene in the Arctic (Barents Sea and St. Anna Trough). Two other projects are currently undertaken in my laboratory. The first is a collaborative project with University of Hawaii and Washington University that deals with life in extreme environments and uses biomarkers as proxies for bacterial life in low flow hydrothermal systems of oceanic ridge crusts. It attempts to find proof for the existence of a subseafloor biomass. The second one is a pilot project testing the impact of environment versus phylogeny on the lipid composition of snake skins. I enjoy the diversity of these projects as I believe that overspecialization can result in scientific sterility.

Personal Information
Organic Geochemistry Laboratory