Spring 2020 - GEOG 316 D100

Global Biogeochemical and Water Cycles (4)

Class Number: 3177

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We, Fr 9:30 AM – 10:20 AM
    BLU 10921, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 21, 2020
    3:30 PM – 6:30 PM
    TAKE HOME-EXAM, Burnaby

  • Instructor:

    Lance Lesack
    1 778 782-3326
    Office: RCB 7225
  • Prerequisites:

    GEOG 215 or BISC 204 or permission of the instructor.



Introduction to the cycling of essential chemical elements through ecosystems. Interactions among biological, hydrological, and geological controls on the structure and function of ecosystems and the spatial-temporal scales of elemental cycling are emphasized. Environmental problems resulting from disturbance to natural equilibria in the elemental cycles are examined. Quantitative.


Introduction to the cycling of essential chemical elements through ecosystems and to the global biogeochemical and water cycles.  Interactions among biological, hydrological, and geological controls on the structure and function of the planetary ecosystem and the spatial-temporal scales of elemental cycling, particularly the global carbon cycle, are emphasized.  Environmental problems resulting from human disturbances to the elemental cycles, such as planetary warming, and the biogeochemical underpinnings of global change are examined.

Organization:  Two one-hour lectures and one three-hour laboratory session per week.  The final exam will be scheduled during the regular examination period.  There will be no laboratory session in the first week of classes.

Course Topics:

Introduction to the biogeochemical cycles & nutrient cycling            
Planetary origins & geology            
Global water and energy cycles            
Weathering of the lithosphere            
Primary production in the biosphere            
Processes in terrestrial ecosystems            
Rivers:  linkage between terrestrial & aquatic ecosystems            
Processes in lacustrine ecosystems            
Processes in oceanic ecosystems            
Processes in the atmosphere            
The carbon cycle & global warming            
The N, P, and S cycles            
Acidification and eutrophication of ecosystems       


  • Laboratory Exercises 25%
  • Short Paper 10%
  • Term Paper 25%
  • Term Paper Presentation 10%
  • Final Examination 30%



Schlesinger, W.H., and E.S. Bernhardt. 2013.  Biogeochemistry: An Analysis of Global Change, 3rd Ed. Academic Press.  

Custom Courseware Package. 2020.  Readings in Biogeochemistry.  SFU Bookstore.  

Additional readings drawn from the research literature will be assigned through the term.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html