Welcome to our microbial world! Microbes are everywhere - including the human body where they outnumber your own cells by ~10 to 1. They have co-evolved with the Earth’s environment for billions of years and are the most ingenious chemists on the planet. What role did they play over the course of Earth’s history and how do they shape Earth today?
This class examines how microorganisms affect the world around us throughout Earth’s history and on our changing planet today. Emphasis will be placed on the co-evolution of the biosphere and geosphere through major geologic and evolutionary events, the many ways microbes can make a living (diversity of metabolisms and habitats), interactions with & within the microbial world, the use of microorganisms in geobiotechnology, and how microorganisms drive key biogeochemical processes including weathering and transformations of carbon, oxygen, sulfur and nitrogen.