Kaisa_2012_3_photo by Veikko Somerpuro

22.4.2020 at 08:00 - 12.5.2020 at 23:59



Open to all

It is an advantage if students have either completed, or are familiar with the concepts in, the BSc course ”Akvaattinen biogeokemia” (“Aquatic biogeochemistry”, ENV-312):

  • Carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus cycling in aquatic systems
  • Ocean circulation and the biological pump
  • Early diagenesis in sediments and benthic nutrient fluxes
  • Eutrophication and hypoxia
  • Acid rain, acidification and recovery in freshwater systems
  • Basic techniques in water and sediment chemical analysis

The course develops the concepts taught in ENV-312, with a strong focus on biogeochemical processes in coastal and ocean-margin sediments

Scientific knowledge gained during the course

  • Understanding of dissolved and particulate organic matter cycling in estuarine and coastal systems
  • Understanding of nutrient regeneration/removal and carbon burial in estuarine and coastal systems
  • Understanding of the diagenetic zonation of sediments, and coupled microbial processes in the sediment column
  • Understanding of benthic oxygen fluxes and the role of benthic organisms in coastal habitats
  • Understanding of silicate chemistry in ocean-margin sediments
  • Understanding of authigenic mineral formation (carbonates, phosphates, sulfides) in sediments
  • Understanding of the impact of sediment processes on greenhouse gas emissions

Specific skills gained or further developed during the course

  • Ability to read and evaluate English-language scientific articles in the field of aquatic biogeochemistry
  • Ability to perform calculations using chemical equations, for quantitative understanding of element cycling, and to place the results in context

Period IV

Online lecture content

  • Early diagenesis in sediments; redox zonation and microbially mediated reactions
  • Coupled biogeochemical cycles in sediments and human impacts on reaction rates
  • Dissolved organic matter cycling in boreal estuaries and implications for sediment organic matter composition
  • Nutrient retention and release in coastal systems
  • Benthic oxygen consumption and production in coastal ecosystems
  • Impact of sediment processes on greenhouse gas emissions (CO2, CH4, N2O)
  • Authigenic mineral formation in sediments
  • Sediment chemistry in marine oxygen minimum zones: carbon and silica cycling

Computer practical exercises

  • Four interactive computer exercises based on the above topics


  • Attendance at a minisymposium featuring 4 PhD and postdoc researchers. Students listen to the presentations and formulate constructive questions.

Compulsory reading, completion of computer exercises and minisymposium report

  • Each of the above components is augmented with additional tasks. Lectures have additional reading, the computer practicals contain extra tasks to be done in your own time, and a report must be written following the minisymposium.

Course components

  • Watching the online lectures (8 x 2h)
  • Completing the associated reading (8 x 4h)
  • Attending the supervised computer practical exercises (4 x 2h)
  • Completing the additional computer tasks (4 x 4h)
  • Attending the minisymposium (1 x 2 h)
  • Writing the minisymposium report (1 x 8 h)
  • Revision of material for exam (40 h)
  • Final exam (1 x 3 h)

Total time 129 hr (= approx. half of your study time over the 2-month period)

Teachers will provide a suitable amount of additional reading to accompany each lecture. This will mainly be based on scientific articles, and some book chapters. Further information is provided during the course.

The grade is given on a scale of 0-5.

Assessment breakdown

  • Reports of computer practical exercises: 40%
  • Minisymposium report: 10%
  • Final exam: 50%

Due to current COVID-19 situation general examinations in lecture halls are cancelled. You can contact the teacher to ask about alternative completion methods.

Tom Jilbert