Course Offerings

Spring 2024

Fundamentals of the Geosciences
Subject associations
GEO 505

A yearlong survey, in sequence, of fundamental papers in the geosciences. Topics in 505 (Spring) include the origin and interior of the Earth, plate tectonics, geodynamics, the history of life on Earth, the composition of the Earth, its oceans and atmospheres, past climate. Topics in 506 (Fall) include present and future climate, biogeochemical processes in the ocean, geochemical cycles, orogenies, thermochronology, rock fracture and seismicity. A core course for all beginning graduate students in the geosciences.

Instructors
Curtis A. Deutsch
Thomas S. Duffy
John A. Higgins
Satish C. Myneni
Blair Schoene
Bess Ward
Xinning Zhang

Freshman Seminar

Decomposing the Science of Composting: How To Turn Waste into Resource (SEL)
Subject associations
FRS 115

This course overviews the science of composting by covering nutrient cycling (carbon and nitrogen, pollution), soil science (chemistry), microbial ecology, and the food/water/biodiversity/climate grand challenges. Local samples will be used. The course will enhance campus sustainability efforts through student research projects. Students will help the SCRAP lab optimize composting practices (e.g. aerobic biodigestor) to process dining-sourced bioplastics into healthy compost with low C emissions. Student findings will be an integral component of a larger NJ DEP supported project to advance campus recycling goals.

Instructors
Shannon Haynes
Xinning Zhang

Prior Semesters

Undergraduate Courses

Decomposing the Science of Composting: How To Turn Waste into Resource (SEL)
Subject associations
FRS 115

This course overviews the science of composting by covering nutrient cycling (carbon and nitrogen, pollution), soil science (chemistry), microbial ecology, and the food/water/biodiversity/climate grand challenges. Local samples will be used. The course will enhance campus sustainability efforts through student research projects. Students will help the SCRAP lab optimize composting practices (e.g. aerobic biodigestor) to process dining-sourced bioplastics into healthy compost with low C emissions. Student findings will be an integral component of a larger NJ DEP supported project to advance campus recycling goals.

Instructors
Shannon Haynes
Xinning Zhang
Undergraduate Course
Fall 2023
Microbial Life - A Geobiological View
Subject associations
GEO 416 / ENV 418

Microbes were the first life forms on Earth and are the most abundant life forms today. Their metabolisms underpin the cycling of carbon, nitrogen, and other important elements through Earth systems. This course will cover the fundamentals of microbial physiology and ecology and examine how microbial activities have shaped modern and ancient environments, with the goal of illustrating the profound influence of microbial life on our planet for over 3 billion years.

Instructors
Xinning Zhang
Undergraduate Course
Spring 2022
Microbial Life - A Geobiological View
Subject associations
GEO 416 / ENV 418

Microbes were the first life forms on Earth and are the most abundant life forms today. Their metabolisms underpin the cycling of carbon, nitrogen, and other important elements through Earth systems. This course will cover the fundamentals of microbial physiology and ecology and examine how microbial activities have shaped modern and ancient environments, with the goal of illustrating the profound influence of microbial life on our planet for over 3 billion years.

Instructors
Xinning Zhang
Undergraduate Course
Fall 2022

Graduate Studies

Geobiology Seminar
Subject associations
GEO 524

This seminar provides an overview of the rapidly developing field of geobiology, which aims at investigating how life influences and is influenced by Earth processes. Students are expected to present and lead article discussions, construct, peer and panel review NSF-style graduate student fellowship research proposals in the second half of the course. Prerequisites: General chemistry, General Biology, Environmental Microbiology or by instructor permission.

Instructors
Xinning Zhang
Graduate Studies
Spring 2021