Julie K. Bartley         

| Geology

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Contact Me (@gac.edu)

e-mail: jbartley

Office: Nobel Hall 131

Phone: 507-933-7307

Gustavus Adolphus College

Geology Department

800 W. College Ave.

St. Peter, MN 56082



Scientific Interests

I am curious about how life on Earth shapes and is shaped by the environment in which it lives. In particular, I study the early record of life on Earth, about 1-2 billion years ago. During this time, microbes (mainly bacteria and algae) dominated the seas. Despite the fact that the organisms were tiny, the ocean was full of life, and these microbes constructed reefs similar in size and shape to reefs made by animals today. They also floated near the sea surface, doing photosynthesis as do modern phytoplankton. These tiny creatures are responsible for transforming Earth's atmosphere and ocean into one habitable for the life forms that evolved more recently. In order to understand how life and environment interacted in the distant past, I study fossils, sedimentary rocks (like limestone and shale), and the chemical composition of those rocks. Read more...

Current & Recent Research

  • Fossils and environments in the 1.6 billion year old Gunflint Iron Formation, MN and Ontario
  • Stromatolites from the high Andes as analogues to ancient ecosystems
  • Geochemistry of Proterozoic carbonate rocks
  • Development of carbonate platforms during the Proterozoic
  • Evolution of the atmosphere during the Proterozoic
  • Carbonate sediments and microfossils of India

Teaching Interests

The courses I teach address the interactions between life and environment through time. Students in these courses learn about the long history of the planet, the causes and consequences of biological evolution, climate change, sea level change, biogeochemical shifts, and other environmental changes. I strive to incorporate student-centered learning in my courses and to provide students with opportunities to challenge the edges of their understanding. Nearly all courses that I teach include field trips, hands-on laboratory work, and writing/communication assignments. Read more...

Current and Recent courses

  • GEO-111: Principles of Geology
  • GEO-112: Evolution of the Earth
  • GEO-352: Paleontology
  • GEO-324: Sedimentation and Stratigraphy
  • GEO-392: Research in Geology I (Junior Seminar)
  • GEO-393: Research in Geology II (Senior Seminar)

Outreach and Other Interests

Geology captures the interest of everyone - from preschoolers to mature citizens. I am interested in engaging the community beyond Gustavus in the excitement and discovery of geology. In the geology, we host school groups for hands-on lessons, museum tours, and other activities. We will also visit classrooms if a field trip to Gustavus is impossible. Community members have brought us curious rocks for identification, and curious adults have visited our museum. I would greatly enjoy working with individuals, schools, or community groups to develop programs that help spark enthusiasm about geology and paleontology. Read more...

Recent Outreach Activities

  • Hosted school groups for geology activities
  • Identified rocks and fossils for community members
  • Led tours of the Chester Johnson Geology Museum, in Nobel Hall
  • Participated in the Science and Nature Conference at Gustavus
  • Visited classrooms to talk about geology, paleontology, and careers in geology