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Unit information: Geomicrobiology in 2015/16

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Unit name Geomicrobiology
Unit code EASC30051
Credit points 10
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2C (weeks 13 - 18)
Unit director Dr. Buss
Open unit status Not open

EASC20011 Environmental Geochemistry or equivalent knowledge. Students who have not taken EASC20011 should contact the unit director before registering for this unit.



School/department School of Earth Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Science


An overview of concepts, techniques, and issues in geomicrobiology as they relate to environmental geosciences.

Aims: to learn about and examine microbial properties, metabolisms, diversity and abundance in the natural environment; to appreciate the coupling of biological with chemical and physical processes in the natural environment; to examine specific ways in which microorganisms create or contribute to normal geological processes, environmental problems, and remediation of environmental problems; and to summarise current techniques for assessing microbial influences on the environment.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of the unit, the student will be able to: • describe the variety of microbial metabolisms; • draw a tree of life to show evolutionary relationships; • explain microbial roles in: pollution, remediation of mining waste, degradation of organic pollutants, biomineralisation, mineral weathering, and global element and greenhouse gas cycling; • quantitatively apply understanding of microbial catalysis of chemical reactions to redox processes in the environment; • describe methods for evaluating the influence of microorganisms in a variety of natural environments and the limitations of these methods.

Teaching details

Lectures and practicals

Assessment Details

Final 3 hour examination (60%) and coursework (40%)

Reading and References

Konhauser K.O. 2006. Introduction to Geomicrobiology. Wiley-Blackwell, 440 pp.