Sedimentology and Ecology of Shelves

Lecturers: Thomas Mann, Rebecca Rendle-Bühring


Combined lectures and practical exercises introduce the main features of carbonate and terrigenous sedimentation patterns in tropical and non-tropical shelf environments along latitudinal and bathymetrical traverses. Analysis of sediment dynamics and ecological pattern on shelves provide important links between terrestrial and oceanic responses to global climate forcing. The responses to sea level fluctuations, tectonic setting as well as changes in vegetation and weathering in the hinterland will be discussed. Themes include short lectures (2-3h) on “Oceanography and sediment dynamics”, “Tropical and non-tropical carbonate shelves: overview”, “Modern clastic shelf systems” and “Cold water reefs on shelves”. Combined lectures and practical exercises (5h) will be given on “Seismic and facies architecture of clastic shelves”, as well as case studies dealing with “Facies belts and core sections of clastic shelves”, “Non-tropical carbonate shelves”, and “Tropical carbonate platforms and shelves”.


- Main objective is training in understanding complex facies concepts as well as integrated sedimentological and ecological models for tropical and non-tropical as well as for silici-clastic shelf systems under modern and ancient settings.
- They student will attain advanced skills to analyse and interpret shelf sediments applying a broad spectrum of interdisciplinary methodological approaches, e.g. seismic and hydro-acoustic imaging, visual core description supplemented by x-ray radiography of selected core sections, determination of grain size spectra (wet-seaving, sedigraph measurements, laser granulometry), geochemical methods (determination of carbonate-, organic carbon (Leco analyser)- and main element contents (XRF core scanner), and microscopic component analysis including determination of floral and faunal elements.
- Students will achieve high competence in extracting oceanographic-, biological-, climatic-, and sea level induced controls in the evolution of shelve sedimentary systems and ecosystems. In addition, they will be able to evaluate the impact of natural and anthropogenic influences on shelf systems.


The above mentioned core competences of this course and those of the course "Sedimentary structures and processes: passive margins" will be tested and evaluated in a combined oral examination. This includes practical activities of the candidates, e.g. interpretation of seismic sections and sediment cores as well as microscopic analysis and interpretation of shelf sediments.


oral exam


Handouts, respectively pdf files, including reference lists will be provided for each course on StudIP.


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