Aquatic organic geochemistry

Graduate class.
Focused on processes in organic geochemistry. You will learn about diagenesis, sorbtion and partitioning, estuarine processes, and photochemistry.
Tentative class days are Tuesday and Thursday.

Target group: Graduate students
Prerequisite: MARN 280 W or consent of instructor

Topic 1. Introduction
Topic 2. Organic matter production
Topic 3. Organic matter transport
Topic 4. Organic matter degradation
Topic 5. Introduction to photochemical reactions
Topic 6. River/estuary processes
Topic 7. Sorbtion and partitioning
Topic 8. Sedimentary preservation
Topic 9. Isotope fractionation
Topic 10. Controls on global cycles

Detailed syllabus

  • Topic 1: Introduction
    • Global carbon cycle
    • DOM
  • Topic 2: Organic matter production
    • Water column processes that produce dead OM
    • Major biochemicals as geochemical tools
  • Topic 3: Transport processes
    • The biological pump
    • Exchanges across the ocean-atmosphere interface
    • Water mass advection
    • Sediment transport
    • Fluxes over the sediment-water interface
  • Topic 4: Organic matter degradation
    • Processes eliminating OM
    • Models of carbon flow in the upper and lower water column
    • Fundamental aspects of microbial degradation
    • Indicators of degradation and diagenesis
    • Role of diagenesis and mineral matrixes
    • Uncharacterized OM
  • Topic 5: Introduction to photochemical processes
    • Light absorbtion and chemical structure
    • Reaction efficiency and rates
    • Attenuation of light
    • Role of microsurface layer
    • Role of fresh water lenses
  • Topic 6: River/estuary processes
    • Major rivers of the world
    • General patterns
    • Compositional trends
    • Estuarine fate of OM
  • Topic 7: Sorbtion and partitioning
    • Surface chemistry overview
    • General qualities of surfaces in aquatic environments
    • Mechanisms of adsorption, absorption and desorption
    • Partition coefficients and isotherms
    • Effects of surfaces on microbial reactivity
  • Topic 8: Sedimentary preservation
    • OC-transfer from modern to inactive sediments
    • Open ocean, deltas and continental margins
    • Controls on sedimentary OC preservation
  • Topic 9: Isotope fractionation
    • What are stable isotopes?
    • How are isotopes used in biogechemistry?
    • Biogeochemistry of the stable carbon isotopes
    • Biogeochemistry of the stable nitrogen isotopes
  • Topic 10: Controls on global cycles
    • Generalities
    • Negative Feedback mechanisms
    • Possible controls
    • Large scale effects
    • Inverse effects