651-4145-00L  Seminar on Precambrian Geobiology and Biogeochemical Cycles

SemesterAutumn Semester 2023
LecturersJ. Hemingway, C. Magnabosco
Periodicityyearly recurring course
CourseDoes not take place this semester.
Language of instructionEnglish


651-4145-00 SSeminar on Precambrian Geobiology and Biogeochemical Cycles
Does not take place this semester.
1 hrsJ. Hemingway, C. Magnabosco

Catalogue data

AbstractThe Precambrian Earth experienced several environmental states—all drastically different from today—that are recorded in sedimentological, fossil, and genetic records. We will review "classic" and more recent scientific literature on the evolution of chemical and biological processes to critically evaluate what we do and don't know about how our planet's biogeochemistry has changed through time.
ObjectiveFor decades, researchers have attempted to reconstruct Precambrian environmental states and their relative timing using tracers recorded in the sedimentological, fossil, and genetic records. Here, by reading and discussing “classic” and more recently published scientific papers, students will learn about influential discoveries related to Earth history within the fields of geobiology and geochemistry.

In completing the course, students will specifically learn:
* Why Earth’s surface chemical composition evolved from anoxic to oxic environments
* How life evolved from simple prokaryotic metabolisms to multicellular eukaryotes
* The importance of geological, chemical, and biological feedback mechanisms
* How to discern between biologic innovation and environmental importance
* How to summarize, interpret, and discuss current evidence for what is and isn’t known about Earth’s geochemical and geobiological evolution
* How to assess opposing scientific viewpoints and outstanding questions in the literature
ContentEach lecture period will consist of a presentation and discussion—to be led by 1-2 students (depending on class size)—covering a given paper or set of papers. All students are expected to read the relevant papers before class and come prepared for discussion. Lecture periods will be divided between “review” presentations aimed at introducing the background and fundamentals of each topic and “debate” or “comparison”-style presentations, in which two (sometimes opposing) views of a given topic will be discussed and assessed.
Lecture notesWhere available, presentations and notes will be provided online during the course.
LiteratureAll required and recommended scientific publications will be provided online during the course.
Subject-specific CompetenciesConcepts and Theoriesfostered
Techniques and Technologiesfostered
Method-specific CompetenciesAnalytical Competenciesfostered
Social CompetenciesCommunicationfostered
Cooperation and Teamworkfostered
Personal CompetenciesCritical Thinkingfostered

Performance assessment

Performance assessment information (valid until the course unit is held again)
Performance assessment as a semester course
ECTS credits1 credit
ExaminersC. Magnabosco, J. Hemingway
Typeungraded semester performance
Language of examinationEnglish
RepetitionRepetition only possible after re-enrolling for the course unit.

Learning materials

No public learning materials available.
Only public learning materials are listed.


No information on groups available.


Places26 at the most
Waiting listuntil 24.09.2023

Offered in

Earth Sciences MasterElectivesW DrInformation