Undergraduate course

Principles in Geobiology

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

Teaching semester

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

Place of Instruction


Objectives and Content

The course aims to give an overview of fundamental principles in geobiology and how these can be used to understand global geochemical cycles and the controlling processes. The course also aims 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.

The course includes the global carbon cycle and the biological and geological controlling processes. The global nitrogen, sulfur, iron and oxygen cycles will be explained in a similar manner. 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.

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

The student

  • is able to evaluate and communicate the importance of the interaction between geological and biological processes in modern and ancient environments on earth
  • can find relevant geobiological literature and refer correctly to these sources

General competence
The student

  • can use a precise scientific language to describe and discuss geobiological topics in a clear and structured way both orally and written

Required Previous Knowledge


Recommended Previous Knowledge

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

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

Lectures 2 hours per week for 12 weeks

Practicals 2 hours per week for 12 weeks

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 (exercises and 3 essays)
Compulsory assignments are valid for 2 subsequent semesters.

Forms of Assessment

Portfolio assessment: 3 essays on seminar topics

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. Assessment is only provided in semesters with teaching.

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.

Course Administrator

The Faculty for Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Department of Earth Science has the administrative responsibility for the course and program


Department of Earth Science


Contact Information

The student coordinator can be contacted here:
Tlf 55 58 35 19