05-MMG-BG1 Biogeochemical Processes: Concepts

Representative Marcus Elvert

Learning Contents:

The module “Biogeochemical Processes: Concepts” will introduce the wide range of element cycles, their underlying reactions and driving forces in different marine environments, ranging in space from the sea surface to the deep biosphere. Starting with fundamentals in this interdisciplinary field of research, specific courses will guide the students through topics ranging from (in)organic geochemistry to (isotope) biogeochemistry and marine microbiology. The physical and chemical behaviour of light stable isotopes under natural environmental conditions, fractionation processes, microbially catalysed biogeochemical processes and respective research methods combined with recent applications will be provided.

Learning Outcomes, Targeted Competencies:

1) The students will have the knowledge to interpret the functional relationships between microbially driven processes and elemental/molecular signatures.
2) The students will understand the physical and chemical behavior of light stable isotopes under natural environmental conditions.
3) Students will have an understanding of the physiology of important microbes in the marine environment and biogeochemical processes they are involved in.
4) Students will be able to utilize both geo- and biomolecules as sources of information for the study of biogeochemical processes that have implications for paleoenvironmental proxies.

Prior Knowledge:

Basic knowlegde of organic compound classes, life domains, cell composition and structures, diagenetic reactions

Course Type 1: Lecture, Exercise (L+E) 2.0 SWS ( 28.0 h)

Course Type 2: Lecture, Exercise (L+E) 1.0 SWS ( 14.0 h)

Course Type 3: Lecture, Exercise (L+E) 2.0 SWS ( 28.0 h)

Tutorial(s): -


70.0 h presence time
70.0 h self-study
40.0 h exam workload

180 h total workload

Exam Type:

module exam


exam elements: 1
SL: 0

100 % oral exam

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


1) Berner, R.A. (1980) Early Diagenesis: A Theoretical Approach.
2) Canfield, D.E., Kristensen, E., and Thamdrup, B. (2005) Aquatic Geomicrobiology.
3) Killops & Killops (2005) Introduction to Organic Geochemistry, 2nd edition.
4) Schulz, H.D. and Zabel, M. (2006) Marine Geochemistry.