Joe Duris

Hi, I'm Joe Duris. I'm interested in microbial ecology and bacteria and their interactions with the environment. Have any questions, feel free to contact me.




I received my BS in Biomedical Science in 1998 and my MS in Biological Science with a focus on Environmental Microbiology from Western Michigan University 2002.  I started my career in the U.S. Geological Survey at the Michigan Water Science Center in Lansing, MI where I worked for 14 years before moving to the Pennsylvania Water Science Center in 2016.

Early in my career I worked in a molecular biology lab developing and applying PCR, ELISA, and growth assays to detect fecally-derived bacterial pathogens in water, sediment, and manure from various sources (agricultural drainage, stream water, bed sediment, agricultural soil, manure, etc). The assays developed during this time were extensively applied to understand the relation between land-use and pathogenic bacteria in agricultural settings and to determine the relation of pathogens to trace-organic chemicals of emerging concern that co-occur in the environment in many settings. In the middle 2000s, I began working on a USGS National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Surface Water Status and Trends site. During this time, in addition to learning and applying various standard USGS water-quality methods and principles, I was involved in pilot studies evaluating the relation of mercury and antibiotic resistance, as well as assessing the status of a network of streams in Michigan for a variety of pesticides. Since then, I have worked extensively with both organic and inorganic water chemistry and have lead and been involved in multiple studies evaluating the correlation and effect of altered water chemistry on the number, type, and function of environmental and fecally-derived pathogenic bacteria.

In 2011, I became the Michigan Water Science Center’s Water Quality Specialist where I helped develop larger monitoring programs and oversaw the study design, data quality, and reporting for several local and regional USGS water-quality studies around the state and region. Throughout my time at the USGS I have been actively involved in the USGS Toxics Substances Hydrology program in evaluating the occurrence, fate, and transport of fecally-derived pathogens and antibiotic resistant bacteria. Currently, my research interests include understanding how human practices, including agriculture and urbanization, affect the occurrence, distribution, fate, and transport of nutrients, sediment, trace organic compounds, and pathogenic bacteria in surface water, and how trace contamination affects the microbial ecology of unique environments, especially as they relate to human and environmental health.  I am currently active on the USGS team that is researching the formation and toxicity of cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms in the Great Lakes.


Outside Publications

Duris, J.W., 2002, Microbial community structure in hydrocarbon impacted sediment associated with anomalous geophysical signatures: M.S. thesis, Western Michigan University. 

Duris, J.W., Rossbach, S., Atekwana, E.A., and Werkema Jr, D., 2003, Microbial community structure in a shallow hydrocarbon-contaminated aquifer associated with high electrical conductivity, in EGS-AGU-EUG Joint Assembly, p. 14279.

Bradley, P.M., Barber, L.B., Duris, J.W., Foreman, W.T., Furlong, E.T., Hubbard, L.E., Hutchinson, K.J., Keefe, S.H., and Kolpin, D.W., 2014b, Surface-Water to Groundwater Transport of Pharmaceuticals in a Wastewater-Impacted Stream in the US, in AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts:, p. 875.

Hager, C., Atekwana, E.A., Gorby, Y.A., Duris, J.W., Allen, J.P., Atekwana, E.A., Ownby, C., and Rossbach, S., 2007, Are Microbial Nanowires Responsible for Geoelectrical Changes at Hydrocarbon Contaminated Sites?, in AGU Spring Meeting Abstracts:, p. 5.

Werkema Jr, D.D., Atekwana, E.A., Atekwana, E.A., Duris, J., Rossbach, S., Allen, J., Smart, L., and Sauck, W.A., 2004, Laboratory and field results linking high bulk conductivities to the microbial degradation of petroleum hydrocarbons, in 17th EEGS Symposium on the Application of Geophysics to Engineering and Environmental Problems.