Skip to main content


CEG8642 : Environmental Organic Matter

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Martin Jones
  • Lecturer: Professor David Manning, Professor Neil Gray
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


Organic matter is a critical component of the biosphere and surface and subsurface soil/sediments
systems and more broadly drives the global carbon cycle. This course will explore the composition
and dynamics of organic matter through the Earth system and will investigate how different
compound classes and specific molecules, e.g. biomarkers, vary in terms of their sources and inputs,
distribution and fates, what they can say about past and present environmental processes and what
impact they have on environmental properties
The aim of this module is to tell students:

Outline Of Syllabus

General introduction on the composition of organic matter
Production, variation and distribution of organic matter in soils, peats, sediments and the deep
Preservation, alteration, turnover in- and export from- surface and subsurface systems
Anthropogenic sources of organic matter in the environment.
Organic matter impacts on chemical and physical properties of urban/agricultural soils and sediments
and the services they provide (i.e. contaminant mobility and toxicity, impacts on soil infrastructure,
food production etc. plus
Inferring environmental process from organic matter compositions
broader global issues such as carbon storage and use of organic matter for energy- impacts on
climate change

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion181:0018:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials241:0024:00Mix of non synchronous online and PiP Will be split up into smaller bits
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops13:003:00Sync online or PiP. Data interpretation exercise
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study521:0052:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyOnline Discussion11:001:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk21:002:00Sync online or PiP.
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Specialist knowledge and understanding are primarily imparted via lecture classes, supported by computer-hosted
reference materials. Students are also encouraged and expected to learn through independent reading and
subsequent reflection. They are supported in this by the provision of an extensive, but prioritised, reading list. Subject specific skills are learnt through participation in, and reflection on, data-based exercises.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Aural Examination2MMCQ Quiz
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The specialist skills, knowledge and understanding imparted during this module are assessed by means of a coursework report/essay. The coursework enhances self-learning and reinforces understanding of lecture material and tests knowledge on a range of topics in the module.  The assessment will be suitable for Study Abroad students since the resources needed for its completion will be available online.

Reading Lists