I investigate how soft-bodied organisms (that is, the non-bony or shelly components of plants, animals, and microbes) escape total degradation and enter the fossil record. Not surprisingly, this is a very complex question that requires a holistic consideration of fossilization factors over a variety of scales. Everything from microbial metabolisms and biochemical architecture to secular changes in oceanic and lacustrine ion content and redox potential needs to be examined to get a complete picture of a soft-bodied fossil. Yet, there are common threads that undergird soft-bodied preservation and in the long term I want to piece together what these are and how they interact. I study both fossils and the subjects of burial experiments using a variety of analytical techniques, although I favor Scanning Electron Microscopy and Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy.