Search result: Catalogue data in Spring Semester 2021

Earth Sciences Master Information
Major in Geology
Restricted Choice Modules Geology
A minimum of two restricted choice modules must be completed for the major Geology.
Biogeochemistry: Compulsory Courses
651-4044-04LMicropalaeontology and Molecular PalaeontologyW+3 credits2GH. Stoll, C. De Jonge, T. I. Eglinton, I. Hernández Almeida
AbstractThe course aims to provide an introduction to the key micropaleontological and molecular fossils from marine and terrestrial niches, and the use of these fossils for reconstructing environmental and evolutionary changes.
ObjectiveThe course aims to provide an introduction to the key micropaleontological and molecular fossils from marine and terrestrial niches, and the use of these fossils for reconstructing environmental and evolutionary changes.

The course will include laboratory exercises with microscopy training: identification of plantonic foraminifera and the application of transfer functions, identification of calcareous nannoliths and estimation of water column structure and productivity with n-ratio, identification of major calcareous nannofossils for Mesozoic-cenozoic biostratigraphy, Quaternary radiolarian assemblages and estimation of diversity indices.
The course will include laboratory exercises on molecular markers include study of chlorin extracts, alkenone and TEX86 distributions and temperature reconstruction, and terrestrial leaf wax characterization, using GC-FID, LC-MS, and spectrophotometry.
ContentMicropaleontology and Molecular paleontology
1. Introduction to the domains of life and molecular and mineral fossils. Genomic classifications of domains of life. Biosynthesis and molecular fossils and preservation/degradation. Biomineralization and mineral fossils and preservation/dissolution. Review of stable isotopes in biosynthesis.
2. The planktic niche – primary producers. Resources and challenges of primary production in the marine photic zone – light supply, nutrient supply, water column structure and niche partitioning. Ecological strategies and specialization, bloom succession, diversity and size gradients in the modern ocean. Introduction to principal mineralizing phytoplankton – diatoms, coccolithophores, dynoflagellates, as well as cyanobacteria. Molecular markers including alkenones, long-chain diols and sterols, IP25, pigments, diatom UV-absorbing compounds. Application of fossils and markers as environmental proxies. Long term evolutionary evidence for originations, radiations, and extinctions in microfossils and biomarkers; evolution of size trends in phytoplankton over Cenozoic, geochemical evidence for evolution of carbon concentrating mechanisms. Introduction to nannofossil biostratigraphy.
3. The planktic niche – heterotrophy from bacteria to zooplankton. Resources and challenges of planktic heterotrophy – food supply, oxygen availability, seasonal cycles, seasonal and vertical niche partitioning. Introduction to principal mineralizing zooplankton planktic foraminifera and radiolaria: ecological strategies and specialization, succession, diversity and size gradients in the modern ocean. Morphometry and adaptations for symbiont hosting. Molecular records such as isorenieratene and Crenoarcheota GDGT; the debate of TEX86 temperature production. Long term evolutionary evidence for originations, radiations, and extinctions in microfossils; evolution of size and form, basic biostratigraphy. Molecular evidence of evolution including diversification of sterol/sterine assemblages.
4. The benthic niche – continental margins. Resources and challenges of benthic heterotrophy – food supply, oxygen, turbulence and substrate. Principal mineralizing benthic organisms – benthic foraminifera and ostracods. Benthic habitat gradients (infaunal and epifaunal; shallow to deep margin. Microbial redox ladder in sediments. Molecular markers of methanogenesis and methanotrophy, Anamox markers, pristine/phytane redox indicator. Applications of benthic communities for sea level reconstructions. Major originations and extinctions.
5. The benthic niche in the abyssal ocean. Resources and challenges of deep benthic heterotrophy. Benthic foraminifera, major extinctions and turnover events. Relationship to deep oxygen level and productivity.
6. Terrestrial dry niches -soils and trees. Resources and challenges - impacts of temperature, humidity, CO2 and soil moisture on terrestrial vegetation and microbial reaction and turnover. Introduction to pollen and molecular markers for soil pH, humidity, leaf wax C3-C4 community composition and hydrology. Long term evolution of C4 pathway, markers for angiosperm and gymnosperm evolution.
7. Terrestrial aquatic environments – resources and challenges. Lake systems, seasonal mixing regimes, eutrophication, closed/open systems. Introduction to lacustrine diatoms, chironomids, testate amoeba. Molecular markers in lake/box environments including paleogenomics of communities.
Lecture notesA lab and lecture manual will be distributed at the start of the course and additional material will be available in the course Moodle
LiteratureKey references from primary literature will be provided as pdf on the course moodle.
Prerequisites / NoticeTiming: The course starts on February 19 and ends on May 28. Prerequisites: Recall and remember what you learned in introductory chemistry and biology
651-4004-00LThe Global Carbon Cycle - ReducedW+3 credits2GT. I. Eglinton, L. Bröder, R. G. Hilton
AbstractThe carbon cycle connects different reservoirs of C, including life on Earth, atmospheric CO2, and economically important geological reserves of C. Much of this C is in reduced (organic) form, and is composed of complex chemical structures that reflect diverse biological activity, processes and transformations.
ObjectiveA wealth of information is held within the complex organic molecules, both in the context of the contemporary carbon cycle and its links to is other biogeochemical cycles, as well as in relation to Earth's history, the evolution of life and climate on this planet.

In this course we will learn about the role of reduced forms of carbon in the global cycle, how these forms of carbon are produced, move around the planet, and become sequestered in the geological record, and how they can be used to infer biological activity and conditions on this planet in the geologic past. The course encompasses a range of spatial and temporal scales, from molecular to global, and from the contemporary environment to earliest life.
Prerequisites / NoticeThis course is good preparation for the combined Field-Lab Course: "651-4044-02 P Geomicrobiology and Biogeochemistry Field Course" and "651-4044-01 P Geomicrobiology and Biogeochemistry Lab Practical"
Biogeochemistry: Courses of Choice
651-4044-02LGeomicrobiology and Biogeochemistry Field Course Information
Lectures from "Micropalaeontology and Molecular Palaeontology" and "The Global Carbon Cycle - Reduced" are recommended but not mandatory for participation in the field course.

Priority is given to D-ERDW students. If space is available UZH Geography and Earth System Sciences students may attend this field course at full cost.

No registration through myStudies. The registration for excursions and field courses goes through only.
W2 credits4PT. I. Eglinton, A. Gilli
AbstractGeochemistry: C-sequestration in glacial flood plains, soil formation on different bedrocks, nutrient scavenging in lakes
Geo-Ecology: Geochemical, hydrologic, atmospheric interactions
Geo-Microbiology: Pioneering organisms in "new" habitats in glacial retreat areas, their role in carbon cycling. Microbes dissolving/forming minerals
Lifestyles: Physiological adaptation to extreme conditions
ObjectiveIllustrating basic geological, chemical and geo-biological topics under natural conditions and relating them to past, present and future global environmental conditions in high mountain habitats.
Each course participant focuses on a scientific question related to one of the course topics, searches for details in the literature and presents a short summary of his / her course research on the last day of the course.

Didactic Approach: Preparation lectures, investigation of field sites, sampling and sample preservation and follow-up analyses for the lab module (651-4044-01L), studying papers, exercises on concept formulation, ecosystem modeling, presentation of field results.
The preparation for the fieldwork is designed as a partial distance-learning course via the internet. Field Guides along with other course material can be viewed before the field course. Detailed introduction to the topics takes place during the course week. Students will need to complete a variety of assignments and participate at discussion forums on OLAT before and during the field course.
ContentThe field course (651-4044-02L) will take place from September 4 to September 9, 2021, in the Biogeoscience Arena Silvretta. It can be followed by a semester project in the laboratory (independent sign-up under 651-4044-01L).
Which sites will be visited in the Biogeoscience Arena Silvretta depends on the weather, accessibility in case of early snow, and the time. Selection of topics depending on course focus:
1. Biogeochemical processes in rock weathering and the formation of minerals: Gonzen, former iron mine; Alvaneu, sulfur springs. Chemical and microbially mediated transformation of carbonates and gypsum: Albula valley region.
2. Geomicrobiology and hydrogeochemistry in thermal spring (Tamina gorge, Pfäffers) and cold water mineral springs of the Lower Engadin Window: Highly mineralized spring water emerging from low-grade metamorphic rocks (Bündner shist) by ion exchange processes and release of rock interstitial fluids.
3. Geochemical nutrient sequestration in high mountain lakes and in snow and ice: Joeri lake area (Silvretta gneiss).
4. Coupled processes in biogeochemical iron, manganese, and phosphorus cycling: Jöri lake XIII.
5. Primary processes in soil and peat formation (inorganic to organic transition, carbon sequestration) and microbial colonization: Glacial retreat flood plains, early vegetation on deltas, and moraine soils.
6. Lifestyles under extreme conditions: Microorganisms and small invertebrates in ice (Cryoconite holes, Silvretta glacier), snow, and highly mineralized spring water.
7. Formation and weathering of serpentinite (Totalp), effects on soil formation, and on vegetation.
8. Economic aspects of geo-hydrology: mineral water market, wellness tourism, and geo-medical aspects.
(not all sites listed will be visited every year. The topics might vary depending on the course focus and the participants.)
Lecture notesThe new field guides and details about the course logistics will become available on OLAT in June via Details under
(The course site will be renewed as soon as all details are available). Participants who are enrolled for this course in the excursion sign-up tool will receive further instructions during the spring semester.
LiteratureLecture slides and literature references are available on the corresponding OLAT site: Details under
Prerequisites / NoticeSites visited and course contents can vary from year to year depending on interest, accessibility and weather conditions.
Field-work can last up to 8 hours daily and will take place at altitudes up to 3000m. This requires endurance and a certain physical fitness. Participants need to be prepared.
Target Groups: Field course and semester project work for the upper level Bachelor curriculum and for Master students.

This field course is coupled to a semester project work "651-4044-01 P Geomicrobiology and Biogeochemistry Lab Practical", when samples collected during the field work will be analyzed. Students who sign up for both, the field and the lab component, have priority. It is possible, however, to participate at the field section only.
The lecture course "651-4004-00L Organic Geochemistry and the Global Carbon Cycle" is a good preparations for the combined Field-Lab Course.

Students registering for the course confirm having read and accepted the terms and conditions for excursions and field courses of D-ERDW Link
651-4056-00LLimnogeologyW3 credits2GN. Dubois, A. Gilli, K. Kremer
AbstractThis course links lakes, their subsurface and their environment. It will be discussed how lake sediments record past environmental changes (e.g. climate, human impact, natural hazards) and how lake sediments can be used to reconstruct these changes. Emphasis is also given on the modern limnologic processes essential in interpreting the fossil record. Field and laboratory work is foreseen.
ObjectiveStudents are able to
- explain and discuss the role of lake sediments as archives of environmental change.
- plan an own limnogeologic campaign, i.e. finding, recovering, analyzing and interpreting the sedimentary lake archive to solve a particular scientific question.
- examine the complexity of a lake system with all its connection to the environment.
- relate subaerial processes with subaquatic processes.
- identify processes around and in lakes causing natural hazards.
ContentContent of the course:
Introduction - Lakes, the small oceans
History of Limnogeology.
Limnogeologic campaigns
The water column: Aquatic physics (currents, waves, oscillations, etc.).
Sediments caught in the water: sediment traps
Geophysical survey methods (multibeam bathymetry, seismics)
Large open perialpine lakes.
Laminations in lake sediments: Clastic vs. biochemical varves.
Hydrologically closed lake systems
Chronostratigraphic dating of lake sediments
Lake sediments as proxies for climate change
Lake sediments as recorder of anthropogenic impact

The class includes 2 lectures as field work on Lake Zurich.
Introduction to themes of Lake Zurich field work.
Limnogeological methods on the lake and in the laboratory: various sampling and surveying techniques (water analysis, seismic surveying, sediment coring, laboratory analyses).
Seismic-to-core correlation and interpretation
Lecture notesWill be distributed in each class unit.
LiteratureWill be distributed in each class unit.
Prerequisites / NoticeCredit points and grade will be given based on a individually written report about the project and a group presentation.
651-4226-00LGeochemical and Isotopic Tracers of the Earth System Restricted registration - show details W+3 credits2VD. Vance
AbstractThe unit will investigate the geochemical approaches used to understand the dynamics of the surface Earth, with an emphasis on geochemical archives preserved in ocean sediments. The class will be organised into four themes, each treating a different aspect of surface Earth chemistry and how it is recorded in archives - mainly ocean sediments but also including others ice-cores and loess.
ObjectiveThe unit is designed with the particular aim of providing a firm grounding in the geochemical methods used to observe and trace the Earth System, now and in the past. Students will gain a basic understanding of the relevant geochemical techniques through at least one 1.5 hour lecture for each theme, and will encourage students to think about their application and interpretation from first principles. But the emphasis will be placed on independent learning by the student through their own research, and the presentation of that research to the class. For each theme, we will use particular time periods in Earth history as case studies. All students will investigate one of these tools in depth themselves, including the application of that tool to problems and questions in the history of the surface Earth.
ContentThe themes covered in the class will include:
Tracing the large-scale controls on ocean chemistry through time using analytical tools, mass balance and box models;
How ocean physics, chemistry and biology can explain the record of atmospheric chemistry preserved in Quaternary ice-cores;
Tracking global-scale aspects of the carbon cycle through time, concentrating on processes on the continents, such as chemical weathering, how their record is preserved in the oceans, and using the Cenozoic as a case study;
What secular variation in ocean redox tells us about large-scale biogeochemical cycles, using the Mesozoic as a case study.

Students will be encouraged to become familiar with the range of modern geochemical tools used to investigate key scientific questions within the above themes, such as radiogenic isotopes, stable isotopes, speciation of elements in the oceans and in sediments.
Lecture notesFor lectures on the basic aspects of each theme, slides will be available in advance of the lectures.
LiteratureAbout two thirds of the class will be devoted to student presentations of particular geochemical methods they have researched themselves, with the aid of published papers available online and as guided by the teaching team.
Prerequisites / NoticeThis class builds on ETH Bachelors classes in oceanography, in geochemistry and in earth system science. Those who have not taken similar classes in their Bachelors may need to familiarise themselves with basic concepts in order to take full advantage of this class. Basic reading material will be compiled that those who might need them can consult - but it is the responsibility of the student to do the catching up.
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