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School of Environment, Education and Development

Student of environmental monitoring and modelling at The University of Manchester
MSc Environmental Monitoring, Modelling and Reconstruction
Develop your environmental fieldwork skills, data handling and analysis at master's level.

MSc Environmental Monitoring, Modelling and Reconstruction / Course details

Year of entry: 2018

Course unit details:
Organic Geochemistry

Unit code EART60311
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by School of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? No

Overview

Organic matter is central to the biosphere and soil systems and hence drives the global carbon cycle. This course will explore the processing of organic matter through the Earth systems and will investigate how specific lipid molecules, e.g. biomakers, can be used to obtain valuable information about the (palaeo) environment and/or environmental processes

 

Pre/co-requisites

NONE

Aims

To provide an understanding how organic compounds are formed, altered, preserved and can be used to get valuable information about both present and past climates.

 

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will have an understanding of:

•       The origins and fates of a large set of organic molecules in the environment including their preservation over time.

•       What ’biomarkers’ and ’proxies’ are and how these can be used to get valuable information about both present and past climates.

•       How compound specific isotope/radiocarbon analyses can be useful in these endeavours.

•       The role of organics in topical environmental systems.

•       Demonstrate capability in problem solving and critical thinking.

•       Develop (organic geo)chemical practical skills.

•           Develop poster design/presentation skills.

Teaching and learning methods

10 weeks of 1 hour lecture followed by a 2 hour problem solving based practical

-A 3 hour assessed geochemical lab-based practical

 

 

Knowledge and understanding

•       The origins and fates of a large set of organic molecules in the environment including their preservation over time.

•       What a ‘biomarker’ is and how these can be used to get valuable information about both present and past climates.

•       How compound specific isotope/radiocarbon analyses can be useful in these endeavours.

•       The role of organics in topical environmental systems.

Intellectual skills

• Demonstrate capability in problem solving and critical thinking.

Practical skills

• Develop (organic geo)chemical practical skills.

• Develop poster design/presentation skills.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 66.7%
Written exam 33.3%

Preparation of a biomarker poster - A3 poster size (16.7%) Lab based organic geochemical practical + report, ~1000-1500 words, (16.7%) Critical review of a novel organic geochemical based proxy developed in the last 20 years, ~2000-2500 words (33.3%) 1.5 Hour Exam (33.3%)

Feedback methods

Written/oral feedback on both the organic geochemical practical, the Biomarker project and the critical review will be discussed in class of week 10..

Recommended reading

Killips, S. & Killops, V. (2005), Introduction to organic geochemistry, second edition, Blackwell publishing company, Oxford, UK.

Peters, K.E. and Walters C.C. (2005), The Biomaker guide Volume 1, second edition, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.

Gaines, S.M. Eglinton, G. and RullKötter, J., Echoes of Life, what Fossil Molecules reveal about Earth History, Oxford University Press, New York, USA.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment practical exam 3
Lectures 10
Practical classes & workshops 20
Independent study hours
Independent study 117

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Bart Van Dongen Unit coordinator

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