Assoc. Prof. Dr. David Andrew Fike 

Washington University in St. Louis, USA
May 2012 - Aug 2012
Feb 2011 - Aug 2011

David Andrew Fike

Projects & Publications

Local Controls on Sedimentary Microbial Activity and Biogeochemical Records

Geochemical records preserved within marine sediments are often used to investigate modern biogeochemical cycling and reconstruct how it has evolved over Earth history. However, recent work has shown that these geochemical records can reflect local conditions of the environments in which they formed (such as the sediment accumulation rate or amount of biomass in the sediments) – rather than the global biogeochemical cycles that they have historically been thought to represent. This distinction is critical when trying to reconstruct the long-term evolution of Earth’s surface environment. During my HWK Fellowship, I will work with Dr. Thorsten Dittmar (Oldenburg) to investigate how these local parameters impact microbial activity in sediments and influence the preservation and chemical form of sedimentary organic matter via modulation of microbial sulfate reduction. This work will take advantage of Dr. Dittmar’s unique expertise in Fourier-transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (FT-ICR-MS) to characterize the chemical structure of dissolved organic compounds in sedimentary samples from a range of depositional conditions. The results will provide new insights into the controls on organic matter preservation in marine sediments. I will also leverage expertise at the MPI/Marum to write a synthesis review of sulfur biogeochemical cycling, integrating traditional bulk and micro-scale approaches to create a new framework in which to reinterpret existing data.
Cooperation partner
Prof. Dr. Thorsten Dittmar, Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg
Cooperation partner
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Bach, Universität Bremen
Dr. Timothy Ferdelman, Max-Planck-Institut für Marine Mikrobiologie, Bremen
Finnegan S., Fike D. A., Jones D., and Fischer W. W. (2012). A Temperature-Dependent Positive Feedback on the Magnitude of Carbon Isotope Excursions. Geoscience Canada, 139, 122-131.
Paul Gorjan, Kunio Kaiho, David A. Fike, Chen Xu (2012). Carbon- and sulfur-isotope geochemistry of the Hirnantian (Late Ordovician) Wangjiawan (Riverside) section, South China: Global correlation and environmental event interpretation. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 337–338, 14-22.
Jones, D. S. and Fike, D. A. (2013). Dynamic sulfur and carbon cycling through the end-Ordovician extinction revealed by paired sulfate–pyrite δ34S. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 363, 144-155.
Grotzinger, J., Fike, D. & Fischer, W. (2011). Enigmatic origin of the largest-known carbon isotope excursion in Earth's history. Nature Geoscience, 4, 285–292.
Megan Rohrssen, Gordon D. Love, Woodward Fischer, Seth Finnegan, David A. Fike (2013). Lipid biomarkers record fundamental changes in the microbial community structure of tropical seas during the Late Ordovician Hirnantian glaciation. Geology, 41 (2), 127–130.
Metzger J. G. and Fike D. A. (2013). Techniques for assessing spatial heterogeneity of carbonate d13C values: Implications for craton-wide isotope gradients. Sedimentology, 60 (6), 1405-1431.