Molecular Biogeochemistry

Hot spring sample of biomass.

Yellowstone National Park 'Ojo Caliente' hot spring sample of biomass from a 'streamer' community. (Image by Prof. Roger Summons.)


MIT Course Number

12.158 / 12.458

As Taught In

Fall 2011


Undergraduate / Graduate

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Course Description

Course Features

Course Description

This course covers all aspects of molecular biosignatures, such as their pathways of lipid biosynthesis, the distribution patterns of lipid biosynthetic pathways with regard to phylogeny and physiology, isotopic contents, occurrence in modern organisms and environments, diagenetic pathways, analytical techniques and the occurrence of molecular fossils through the geological record. Students analyze in depth the recent literature on chemical fossils. Lectures provide background on the subject matter. Basic knowledge of organic chemistry required. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments.

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Related Content

Roger Summons, Florence Schubotz, Julio Sepulveda, and Paula Welander. 12.158 Molecular Biogeochemistry. Fall 2011. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

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