GEOL30007 Geomicrobiology and Biogeochemistry

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 3 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2017:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.Show/hide details
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 27-Feb-2017 to 28-May-2017
Assessment Period End 23-Jun-2017
Last date to Self-Enrol 10-Mar-2017
Census Date 31-Mar-2017
Last date to Withdraw without fail 05-May-2017

Timetable can be viewed here.
For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A total of 20 hours of lectures; 10 x three hour practicals; 2 x one day field trips
Total Time Commitment:

Estimated total time commitment of 170 hours


Completion of

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:

Or any tertiary level biology or microbiology subject

Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/disability


Dr John Moreau


Email: jmoreau@unimelb.edu.au

Subject Overview:

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

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


Practical component (60% total) including:

o four short reading quizzes, approximately 250 words each due weeks 2, 4, 7 and 9(20%) and

o two lab reports totalling approximately 1000 words due weeks 5 and 11 (40%)

2-hour written examination will be given in the examination period (40%).

Topics selected from assigned readings will be assessed in the reading quizzes and final examination.

Prescribed Texts:

To be advised.

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
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.

This subject is available for science credit to students enrolled in the BSc (both pre-2008 and new degrees), BASc or a combined BSc course.

Please note that there is a $100 course fee for this subject (lab materials and field trip costs)

Related Course(s): Master of Environmental Science
Master of Geoscience
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Environmental Science
Science-credited subjects - new generation B-SCI and B-ENG.
Selective subjects for B-BMED

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