Undergraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

The course aims to give an introduction to the main groups of microorganisms that are important in biogeochemical element cycles, and how they influence on the dissolution and degradation of minerals and rocks, and on the precipitation and formation of new mineral deposits.

The course gives an introduction to the interaction between microbial metabolic processes and geochemical environments. Analytical methods and techniques for identification of microorganisms in materials from various geological settings will be introduced and demonstrated. A special focus is on deep-sea sediments and hydrothermal systems.

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 most important microbial metabolisms in biogeochemical cycles
  • give an overview of methods for detection and identification of microorganisms in geological material
  • explain how the microbial processes mediate dissolution of minerals/rocks, and formation of new, secondary minerals
  • explain the link between geochemical profiles and microbial processes in different geological settings

The student can

  • evaluate which biogeochemical processes that are most important in different environments
  • evaluate which type of data that can give information about the biogeochemical processes in an environment

General competence
The student can

  • use a precise scientific language when describing and discussing geomicrobiological processes in different environments
  • demonstrate competence in scientific ethics and the ability to work independently and as part of a team

Level of Study

Bachelor and master level

Semester of Instruction

Required Previous Knowledge
Basic principles in earth science, biology, chemistry or equivalent.
Recommended Previous Knowledge
Basic principles in microbiology and aquatic geochemistry
Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap
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 4 hours per week for 12 weeks

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance
Written tasks (exercises and essay)
Compulsory assignments are valid for 2 subsequent semesters.
Forms of Assessment

Portfolio assessment: oral presentation of essays, report from practicals

It is not possible to appeal the grade of this portfolio assessment. This is because a large part of the assessment in this course takes place orally in the classroom and would not be possible to reevaluate

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 Deecember 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 Coordinator
The course coordinator and administrative contact person can be found on Mitt UiB, or you may contact
Course Administrator
The Faculty for Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Department of Earth Science has the administrative responsibility for the course and program