Dr. James (Jamey) Fulton
Dr. James (Jamey) Fulton
Department of Geosciences
One Bear Place #97354
Waco TX 76798
Phone (254) 710-2184
Fax (254) 710-2673
Room E433, Baylor Sciences Building
’ Organic Geochemistry
Ph.D. Penn State University
GEO 1401 - Earthquakes-Natural Disasters
GEO 1403 - Environmental Geology
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.
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.
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.
Tracing Aridity: Sedimentary Preservation of Scytonemin from Microbiotic Desert Soil Crusts
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.