Carbonate Sedimentology and Stratigraphy
Hot Spring and Coral Reef Geobiology
Biocomplexity in the Environment

Bruce W. Fouke
Ph.D. SUNY Stony Brook 1993

Office: 3406 IGB
Telephone: (217) 244-5431


Department of Geology
Department of Microbiology
Institute for Genomic Biology
Illinois State Geological Survey
Russian and Eastern European Center
Montana State University Thermal Biology Institute
Caribbean Marine Biological Institute

My latest research interests are to determine how organic macromolecules produced by bacteria and corals affect the precipitation of CaCO3 biominerals during rapid environmental changes in temperature and oxygen concentration. The natural laboratories for this work are travertine hot springs in Yellowstone and coral reef ecosystems of the Netherlands Antilles. Results are providing fundamental new knowledge of the extent to which feedbacks between minerals, metazoans (coral) and thermophilic bacteria control the CaCO3 biomineralization process. This in turn will permit us to establish more precise predictive models of how coral reef ecosystems will respond over the next 100 years to global warming, and improve our search for and interpretation of microbial life on the early earth and other planets.

A holistic integration of geological, hydrochemical, genomic, and proteomic approaches is being used to determine the macromolecular chemistry of mucus secreted by these organisms, while identifying mechanistic links between organismal health, mucus chemical composition and the formation rates and crystalline architecture of CaCO3 biominerals.  Information gained from field and lab kinetic experimentation, mucus and mineral structural-chemical analyses, and genomic scans of metazoan and microbial communities are being used to parameterize predictive models that quantitatively describe global CaCO3 biomineralization in terrestrial and marine settings.