Student Pages
Undergraduate course

Introduction to geobiology

  • ECTS credits10
  • Teaching semesterAutumn
  • Course codeGEOV114
  • Number of semesters1
  • Language Norwegian
  • Resources

Main content

Level of Study


Teaching semester


Objectives and Content


The course aims to give an introduction to Earth as a dynamical system in which the biosphere is an active component. Through the deep history of the complex Earth system, key processes and their interactions have evolved. The course will impart an understanding of fundamental geobiological processes, documented large-scale changes, as well as the role of humans in, and their impact on, the Earth system.


The course will convey how key biological processes (e.g. photosynthesis, biomineralisation) have affected the Earth system (e.g. atmospheric chemistry, global biogeochemical cycles). The course further addresses the coupling between the evolution of life on Earth and large-scale changes in palaeogeography and global climate, using examples from the geological history of Norway.

Learning Outcomes

 On completion of the course the student should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


The student can

¿ explain key terms, definitions and theories (e.g. geologic time, the Earth system, geobiology, the carbon cycle, evolution)

¿ explain and discuss how the geo- and biosphere can affect each other (e.g. biogeochemical cycles)

¿ demonstrate how the geological timescale is constructed and organized hierarchically and systematically

¿ discuss the consequences of different geodynamic processes (e.g. changes in paleogeography, volcanism) for the evolution of oceans, climate, and life

¿ outline the main features of the history of life on Earth, with examples from the fossil record


The student can

  • perform quantitative analyses (e.g. estimate extinction rates from global fossil databases) and summarize data/results graphically
  • program simple dynamical models (e.g. a two-box model of the carbon cycle) and discuss dynamic behaviour (e.g. feedbacks)
  • interpret (read and explain) graphs and figures with Earth system data (e.g. time series)
  • explain and discuss interactions between geosphere and biosphere
  • perform basic search for relevant Earth science literature and cite sources properly

General competence

The student can

  • use a precise language to describe and discuss processes and events
  • acknowledge, assess and communicate human dependence and impact on the Earth system
  • demonstrate the ability to function individually and behave ethically in cooperation with others
  • perform laboratory and field work in compliance with GEO/UiB health and safety regulations

Required Previous Knowledge

 Basic knowledge in geology, geophysics, structural geology, quaternary geology, sedimentology and field training.

Access to the Course

Access to the course requires admission to a programme of study at The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences

Teaching and learning methods

The course includes lectures, lab exercises, seminars, and an excursion.

Lectures and/or seminars, 2 hours per week for 11 weeks

Exercises, 4 hours per week for 11 weeks

Excursion, 4 days per week for 1 week

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

Exercises, seminars and excursion. Approved compulsory activities are valid for 2 semesters after course completion

Forms of Assessment

The forms of assessment are: portfolio evaluation

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


Reading List

The reading list will be available within June 1st for the autumn semester and December 1st for the spring semester

Course Evaluation

The course will be evaluated by the students in accordance with the quality assurance system at UiB and the department

Programme Committee

The Programme Committee is responsible for the content, structure and quality of the study programme and courses.


 Student counsellor Department of Earth Science, email: studiekonsulent@geo.uib.no