Available courses

Geobiology explores the origin of life on our planet, from the emergence of cells to the appearance of humans. The students will understand our place in the universe as the descendants of an unbroken line of ancestors - from the first microorganisms, the emergence of complex cells, the appearance of multicellular life and the evolution of animals over the past 600 million years, in the oceans and on land. We will also explore how we may find life on other planets in our solar system. The course will emphasize how the geology and chemistry of planet Earth has influenced the evolution of new metabolisms and traits of life, and how biological evolution was steered by geological process. The focus will be an understanding of major events such as the Great Oxygenation Event, the rise of algae, Snowball Earth events, the emergence of the Ediacara biota, the Cambrian explosion, major mass extinction events that saw the turnover of entire ecosystems, including the demise of dinosaurs, turnover of plankton in the oceans through time, and the emergence of new reef building structures. The course will provide an overview of the major groups of plant and animal fossils, including critical evaluation of numerous fossil specimens, and an understanding how fossils, microfossils and molecular fossils are used to reconstruct ancient environments and ecosystems.