Spring 2023 - GEOG 316 D100

Global Biogeochemical and Water Cycles (4)

Class Number: 2515

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 9:30 AM – 10:20 AM
    RCB 8100, Burnaby

    Fr 9:30 AM – 10:20 AM
    AQ 3149, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 21, 2023
    3:30 PM – 6:30 PM
    WMC 2532, 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.


Organization:  Two one-hour lectures and one two-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
            Atmosphere and ocean circulation
            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

Cross-Cutting Themes:
            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%



Under SFU's Education Site License, SFU students, staff, and researchers may download the following software to home computers for academic use ONLY. This includes teaching and classroom use and research purposes. 

Software available to download/install on home computers

  • Microsoft 365
  • ESRI Applications such as ArcGIS Desktop, ArcGIS Pro, ArcGIS Online, ESRI CityEngine, etc.
  • Matlab with Named User License
  • Adobe CC with Named User License*

* ONLY those who are in SFU payroll are eligible for Adobe CC with Named User License


Schlesinger, W.H., and E.S. Bernhardt. 2020.  Biogeochemistry: An Analysis of Global Change, 4th Ed. Academic Press.  Paperback ISBN: 9780128146088; eBook ISBN: 9780128146095

Custom Courseware Package. 2023.  Readings in Biogeochemistry.  SFU Bookstore.

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


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


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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