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Unit information: Geomicrobiology in 2018/19

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Unit name Geomicrobiology
Unit code EASC30051
Credit points 10
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2C (weeks 13 - 18)
Unit director Dr. Buss
Open unit status Not open

EASC20011 Environmental Geochemistry or equivalent knowledge. Students who have not taken EASC20011 should contact the unit director before registering for this unit.



School/department School of Earth Sciences
Faculty Faculty of Science


An overview of concepts, techniques, and issues in geomicrobiology as they relate to environmental geosciences.

Aims: to learn about and examine microbial properties, metabolisms, diversity and abundance in the natural environment; to appreciate the coupling of biological with chemical and physical processes in the natural environment; to examine specific ways in which microorganisms create or contribute to normal geological processes, environmental problems, and remediation of environmental problems; and to summarise current techniques for assessing microbial influences on the environment.

In addition to summative assessment, formative feedback is given throughout the unit by way of in-class quizzes and 2 problem sets.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of the unit, the student will be able to:

  • describe the variety of microbial metabolisms;
  • explain microbial roles in: pollution, remediation of mining waste, degradation of organic pollutants, biomineralisation, mineral weathering, and global element and greenhouse gas cycling;
  • quantitatively apply understanding of microbial catalysis of chemical reactions to redox processes in the environment;
  • apply knowledge about geomicrobiological processes and environmental conditions to select appropriate bioremediation strategies
  • collaborate with others to present an informative talk to an appropriate audience

Teaching details

Lectures and practicals

Assessment Details

  • 3 hour examination (60%)
  • Coursework (40%) - comprising 1250 word individual report [worth 50% of coursework mark] and group presentations [worth 50% of coursework mark].

Reading and References


Konhauser K.O. 2006. Introduction to Geomicrobiology. Wiley-Blackwell, 440 pp.