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  3. Earth's Biogeochemical Cycles

Earth's Biogeochemical Cycles (GEOL90021)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2017
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codeGEOL90021
Semester 2
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

The chemical composition of the atmosphere, ocean and crust is bound up with the evolution of life. Changes in this composition also underlie many environmental issues such as climate change. This course introduces students to the distribution of carbon, oxygen, sulphur, nitrogen, and other elements within the solid earth, ocean and atmosphere and the processes that control their fluxes. Topics include the cycling of key elements between the various reservoirs, the role of biological and physical processes and the perturbation of these cycles. The concepts of mass balance and dynamic equilibrium will underpin these separate areas.

Intended learning outcomes

  • Conceptual understanding of the evolution of various chemical constituents in Earth's system and the major features of their behaviour
  • Knowledge of the major controls on the composition of the ocean and atmosphere
  • Techniques to evaluate the impact of perturbations in these systems
  • Improved theoretical understanding in system dynamics and the behaviour of box modelling approaches to complex systems

Generic skills

  • Developing quantitative skills in simple dynamical systems
  • Rigorous and independent thinking
  • Adopting a problem-solving approach to new or unfamiliar tasks
  • Skills in using mathematical modelling software
  • Oral and written communication and presentation skills

Last updated: 16 August 2017