The spring semester 2021 will certainly take place online until Easter. Exceptions: Courses that can only be carried out with on-site presence. Please note the information provided by the lecturers.

651-4044-00L  Geomicrobiology and Biogeochemistry

SemesterSpring Semester 2016
LecturersT. I. Eglinton, T. R. R. Bontognali, C. Vasconcelos
Periodicityyearly recurring course
Language of instructionEnglish

AbstractMicroorganisms have helped to shape the Earth over almost 4 billion years making it habitable for higher forms of life. Recent advances in our understanding of how microbial life impacts the Earth have led to a newly evolving field of geomicrobiology and associated biogeochemistry, which links the biosphere with the geosphere.
ObjectiveThe course aims to provide an introduction to geomicrobiology and to describe how microbial communities have influenced biogeochemical cycles and mineralogical processes through geologic time.

This lecture course is supplemented by an independent field-lab-course from August 29 to September 9. For details see lecture catalog ETHZ 651-4044-02L and ETHZ 651-4044-01L.
ContentThe lecture course covers the following topics: 1. Microbial properties and diversity, 2. Microbial metabolism that relates to geochemistry, 3. Cell surface reactivity, 4. Sediment biogeochemistry, 5. Biomineral formation in stromatolites, 6. Microbial weathering, 7. Biomarker geochemistry and 8. Microbial life in Earth history. The course will include laboratory practicals in geomicrobiology and geochemistry.
A detailed description of the course layout will become available on OLAT under
at the beginning of January.
Lecture notesPower point slides will be distributed during the course with recommended reading lists.
Access to the lecture notes requires that students sign up in the learning resources "Geomicrobiology_16" in OLAT (available in January) via the internet address given above.
LiteratureRecommended References are listed in the "Geomicrobiology_16" website on OLAT ( and research papers and reviews to specific topics are available in the File Exchange folders.
A number of handbooks will be on display in the library (shelf on the right hand side) for use in the library only.
Prerequisites / NoticeTiming: The course starts on February 22 and ends on May 30. Prerequisites: Recall and remember what you learned in introductory chemistry and biology and apply it to geochemistry and microbial biochemistry.

The students will make oral presentations on selected topics based on the specific laboratory experiments.

This course and the lecture course "651-4004-00L Organic Geochemistry and the Global Carbon Cycle" are recommended prerequisites for participating in the combined Field-Lab courses ("651-4044-02 P Geomicrobiology and Biogeochemistry Field Course" and "651-4044-01 P Geomicrobiology and Biogeochemistry Lab Practical"). Details under