1. Handbook
  2. Subjects
  3. Geomicrobiology and Biogeochemistry

Geomicrobiology and Biogeochemistry (GEOL30007)

Undergraduate level 3Points: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

You’re viewing the 2018 Handbook:
Or view archived Handbooks
You’re currently viewing the 2018 version of this subject


Year of offer2018
Subject levelUndergraduate Level 3
Subject codeGEOL30007
Semester 1
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

Geomicrobiology and biogeochemistry involve the study of interactions across interfaces of minerals, water, and microbes, and how such interactions impact environmental conditions and reflect evolution. This subject will survey the fundamental principles of geomicrobiology and biogeochemistry, explain how modern biological processes constrain many geochemical reactions, and show how palaeoenvironmental conditions impacted the evolution and preservation of prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms across geologic time. This subject will demonstrate how geomicrobiological and biogeochemical knowledge can be applied to problems in academic and government research, and in the petroleum, mineral or environmental industries. We will also look at contemporary “cross-over” applications of geomicrobiology/biogeochemistry to medical microbiology (e.g., coevolution of metals and antibiotic resistance), the microbiology and biogeochemistry of urban/built environments and astrobiological investigation of life’s potential to exist elsewhere in the known universe

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of this subject, students will gain insights into links among microbial diversity and metabolic activity, biogeochemical cycles, the evolution of life on Earth and possibly elsewhere in the universe, and the significance of Earth’s fossil record for interpreting past and modern environments, climate and oceanography. Students will also become familiar with how microorganisms and fossils can be used for resolving practical problems in the petroleum, mining and environmental industries

Generic skills

The generic skills acquired in this subject include:

  • learning how to approach scientific problems when there may be no clear and simple answer;
  • tackling complex exercises within a team environment in the field and laboratory; and
  • conducting experiments and observations in the laboratory environment.

Last updated: 10 August 2019