CEG8642 : Environmental Organic Matter

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 subsurface

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 completion200:3010:00Revision for exam
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion112:0012:00Coursework (report)
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion11:301:30Exam
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture251:0025:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops13:003:00Database exercise
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study148:3048:30Background reading
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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination902A60N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M40Essay (1000 words)
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The specialist skills, knowledge and understanding imparted during this module are assessed by means of unseen written examination and a single coursework item. The examination paper employs a range of approaches in order to accurately assess student abilities. These may include essay, calculation, data interpretation, and multi-part questions. The essay enhances self-learning and reinforces understanding of lecture material and exams test knowledge on the range of topics in the module.

Study Abroad students may request to take their exam before the semester 1 exam period, in which case the format of the paper may differ from that shown in the MOF. Study Abroad students should contact the school to discuss this.

Reading Lists