Undergraduate course

Principles in Geobiology

  • ECTS credits10
  • Teaching semesterSpring
  • Course codeGEOV244
  • Number of semesters1
  • LanguageEnglish
  • Resources

Semester of Instruction

Spring. Regular tasks during the semester in which the class is taught.

Place of Instruction


Objectives and Content

This course centres on major global biogeochemical element cycles and their controlling processes. The course also covers major events in Earth¿s geobiological evolution, and how aspects of the history of life can be reconstructed by combining geochemical and fossil evidence. The goal is for students to understand the biological drivers and consequences of key transitions in Earth¿s history, for example the rise of oxygen, the «snowball» Earth, and the Cambrian explosion.

Learning Outcomes

After completement of the course the student should be able to:
  • give an overview of the earth´s main reservoirs of carbon, nitrogen, sulfur, iron and oxygen, and the geological and biological processes that control the fluxes between these reservoirs
  • give an overview of the main microbial biomineralization processes and the most common biominerals in different environments
  • describe the major classes of biosignature (microfossils, organic biomarkers, isotope records) and how these are used to reconstruct the Earth¿s geobiological history
  • describe key processes and events in the co-evolution of Earth and life

Required Previous Knowledge


Recommended Previous Knowledge

GEOV105 (Historical Geology and palaeontology) and GEOV109 (Introduction to Geochemistry) are strongly recommended

Teaching Methods and Extent of Organized Teaching

Lectures 2 hours per week for 12 weeks

Practicals 2 hours per week for 12 weeks

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

Written tasks (essays and exercises)

Forms of Assessment

Portfolio assessment: 3 essays on seminar topics, exercises

Grading Scale

The grading scale used is A to F. Grade A is the highest passing grade in the grading scale, grade F is a fail.

Assessment Semester

Autumn. Regular tasks is only possible for the semester in which the class is taught.

Course Evaluation

Students will evaluate teaching in accordance with the University of Bergen and the institute¿s quality assurance scheme.


Department of Earth Science