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Stable Isotope Geochemistry

Subject code


Course Number



B. Johnson

Course Long Title

Stable Isotope Geochemistry


The stable isotope composition of modern and ancient waters and biological materials has revolutionized our understanding of biogeochemical cycling at the Earth's surface and of environmental change. This course focuses on the theory and applications of stable isotope fractionation in water and biological materials for modern and past environmental research. The course may include fieldwork within the Androscoggin River watershed and the Maine coast and use of a stable isotope ratio mass spectrometer. Students are engaged in projects that may include tracking changes in carbon cycling in lakes, salt marshes, and trees through time, and documenting changes in energy flow in modern and ancient marine food webs. The interdisciplinary nature of the subject material lends itself well to upper-level students from a variety of science majors. Prerequisite(s): CHEM 107A and any 200-level earth and climate sciences course. Recommended background: EACS 240.

Modes of Inquiry

Quantitative and Formal Reasoning [QF], Scientific Reasoning [SR]

Writing Credit

No writing credit

Class Restriction

Exclude First Years