Baylor University
Department of Geosciences
College of Arts and Sciences

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Dr. James (Jamey) Fulton

Contact Information
Dr. James (Jamey) Fulton
Department of Geosciences
Baylor University
One Bear Place #97354
Waco TX 76798

Phone (254) 710-2184
Fax (254) 710-2673

Room E433, Baylor Sciences Building

Assistant Professor

’ Biogeochemistry

’ Organic Geochemistry

’ Geomicrobiology

Dr. Fulton's Vita


Ph.D. Penn State University
M.A. Ball State University
B.S. Wheaton College


Courses Taught

GEO 1401 - Earthquakes-Natural Disasters

GEO 1403 - Environmental Geology


Research Interests

I study chemical signatures of biological processes in modern and ancient ecosystems, with application to biogeochemical cycles and paleoclimatology

In particular, I use organic biomarkers and stable isotope analysis to evaluate how microbes impact modern environmental conditions and how conditions in the ocean and on land have evolved through time.


Terrestrial Research


The spread of arid conditions is a key component of understanding past climate. Microbiotic soil crusts are often found in deserts, stabilizing the soil and taking advantage of sporadic rainfall, windborne nutrients, and cyanobacterial nitrogen fixation for growth. I study pigment and lipid biomarkers of soil-crust cyanobacteria that are eroded during windstorms and deposited in lake and marine sediments.


Aquatic Research


Half of all photosynthetic productivity on earth takes place in the ocean, where phytoplankton inhabit the photic zone and take up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. I use pigments and lipids produced by phytoplankton and bacteria to study primary and secondary productivity as well as the transfer of biomass from the surface ocean to deep. While a postdoctoral investigator at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution I participated in research cruises in the North Atlantic and plan to continue oceanographic research in the future.


Research Webpage


Current Projects

Tracing Aridity: Sedimentary Preservation of Scytonemin from Microbiotic Desert Soil Crusts

Tracing - Fulton

Deserts are widespread globally, covering large areas of the continental interiors, including much of western North America. As recently as the Mid Holocene, however, the geographical extent of aridity was reduced due to generally higher precipitation. Thus, understanding the distribution of deserts in the past is a key part of understanding past climate change. I am working on a project that will help constrain the extent of deserts since the Last Glacial Maximum, with particular focus on western North America. The project includes field sampling in the Great Basin Desert and Great Salt Lake, shown in the images above. There is also a deep time component of this study applied the Permian-Triassic mass extinction event.


Selected Publications

Publications - PDF