Inorganic Geochemistry

Lecturers: Moritz Holtappels, Simone Kasemann, Sabine Kasten


In marine environments, element cycles of carbon, nitrogen, sulphur, iron or manganese are affected by microbially mediated reactions and associated precipitation of mineral phases. This course offers an introduction to this link of bio- and geochemistry. Moreover, an emphasis will be given to theory and methods determining diffusive and advective matter transport. Likewise, the affect of microbial processes on the variability of light stable isotopes in biogeochemical cycles is illustrated.


At the end of this course the student will be able to:
a) identify microbially driven processes and understand the interrelation between the element cycles
b) apply methods in order to determine rates and fluxes of diffusive and advective transport
c) perceive the physical and chemical behaviour of light stable isotopes under natural environmental conditions.


Oral exam focusing on all three course topics offered in the module (30 min).

Exam Form:

mündliche Prüfung


Berner, R.A. (1980) Early Diagenesis: A Theoretical Approach
Hoefs, J. (2015) Stable Isotope Geochemistry.
Libes, S. (1992) An Introduction to Marine Biogeochemistry
Schulz, H.D. and Zabel, M. (2006) Marine Geochemistry


1st SWS: General introduction into Sediment Geochemistry and Isotope Geochemistry
2nd SWS: Stable isotope applications
3rd SWS: Mass transport I (diffusion, advection)
4th SWS: Mass transport II (excersises, interpreting porewater profiles)
5th SWS: N & P cycling (overview, role of microbes)
6th SWS: Mn cycling in marine sediments
7th SWS: Fe cycling in marine sediments
8th SWS: Teaching day
9th SWS: Sulfur Cycle I
10th SWS: Sulfur Cycle II (including anaerobic oxidation of methane)
11th SWS: Coupled element cycles and biogeochemical processes I
12th SWS: Coupled element cycles and biogeochemical processes II
13th SWS: Flux & rate measurements (methods)
14th SWS: Mass-independent isotope fractionation