As a microbial geochemist, I study the role that microorganisms play in a wide range of geological and environmental processes. Of particular interest is a study of the interdependence between microbial ecology (community structure and density) and geochemical cycling - put another way we are investigating how changes in the local geochemical environment of a microbial community may shift which specific organisms dominate that community and how that microbial community affects the geochemical environment through their metabolism. We also study the role that metal sulfide molecular clusters play in the formation and dissolution of nanocrystalline and bulk metal sulfide minerals, a topic of importance for thinking about processes such as iron-sulfur transformations in early earth's oceans, ore deposit formation, and wetland processes as remediation strategies. Our research takes us both near and far, with projects in some of the bays of Lake Champlain, hydrothermal systems in Yellowstone National Park, sulfidic caves in Italy, a stratified glacial lake in N.Y. (Green Lake), and flooded mines in Butte, MT.
I teach undergraduate courses in earth materials and geochemistry, and graduate courses in advanced water chemistry and geomicrobiology. Undergraduate students have a great opportunity to work in our labs on cutting edge, interdisciplinary individual research projects with myself and some of our graduate students - for example, we recently brought one of our undergraduates into the field for research at the Frassassi caves in central Italy this past summer.
Druschel, G.K., Schoonen, M.A.A., Nordstrom, D.K., Ball, J.W., Xu, Y., And Cohn, C., 2003: Sulfur geochemistry of hydrothermal waters in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA. III: An anion-exchange resin technique for sampling and preservation of sulfoxyanions in natural waters. Geochemical Transactions Vol. 4, No. 3, p. 12-19.
Druschel, G.K., Labrenz, M., Thomsen-Ebert, T., Fowle, D.A. and Banfield, J.F., 2002: Biogenic Precipitation of Monomineralic Nanocrystalline Sulfides: Implications of Observed and Modeled Processes to Ore Deposition. Economic Geology Vol. 97, No. 6, p.1319-1329.
Druschel, G.K., Hamers, R.J., and Banfield, J.F., 2003: Kinetics and mechanism of homogeneous polythionate oxidation at low pH with oxygen and ferric iron. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta Vol. 67, No. 23, p. 4457-4469.
Druschel, G.K., Baker, B.J., Gihring, T.H., and Banfield, J.F., 2004: Acid mine drainage biogeochemistry at Iron Mountain, California. Geochemical Transactions Vol. 5, No. 2, pp. 13-32.
Druschel, G.K., Sutka, R, Emerson, D., Luther, G.W., Kraiya, C., and Glazer, B., 2004: Voltammetric investigation of Fe-Mn-S species in a microbially active wetland. In: Proceedings of the Eleventh International Symposium on Water-Rock Interaction WRI-11. Wanty, R.B. and Seal, R.R (eds.). p. 1191-1194.