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Paleoceanography and marine geology

The course addresses the history and workings of the ocean-climate system in the geologic past to today with regard to geology, circulation, chemistry, biology and patterns of marine sedimentation.

Students looking over a sediment core.
Illustration by Robyn O'Regan.

Topics: marine sediments, their correlation and time scales; the basics of the modern climate system including ocean and atmosphere circulation, the hydrosphere, cryosphere and biogeogeochemical cycles; physical, chemical and biological proxy tools; trends and events in the evolution of the ocean- and atmosphere systems over the past 150 million years.

Course period Autumn 2021: Monday November 1–Wednesday December 1 (incorrect study period in the right column).

iconIf possible an excursion to the IODP (Integrated Ocean Discovery Program) core repository in Bremen, Germany, will take place. More details about that as soon as possible.

Autumn term 21 | Depending on the number of students and current restrictions, the course will either be given "as usual" or with lectures via Zoom and exercises on as many occasions as needed to be able to work in smaller groups.
The information will be updated before the start of the course depending on the situation at that time.

  • Course structure

    Teaching format

    Lectures: At the moment, we do not know how many students will be enrolled in GG4216 but from previous experience we expect between 6-12. As a result, we plan to hold lectures on campus as usual since the discussion and interaction is important to the course and there will be plenty of space to social distance in the booked lecture rooms. If university guidelines change we will switch to ZOOM lectures as a fall back.


    This information applied for Autumn term 20, an updated information about the excursio will be done as soon as possible.

    It is uncertain whether the yearly excursion to the IODP (Integrated Ocean Discovery Program) core repository in Bremen, Germany will take place this year – the repository has been closed to visitors since March and it is unclear whether it will reopen by November.

    As of 14th July 2020, international travel restrictions for people traveling from Sweden to Germany have been lifted so plane travel as of now is possible in theory, although this could of course change.

    I am currently waiting for news from the IODP about whether a visit will be possible. If the repository reopens by the end of August we will attempt go. This will involve traveling safely by plane (wearing face masks if necessary) and securing accommodation options that will allow us to maintain safe social distancing practices.

    If the visit is not possible there will be an internet and lab-based alternative that will allow us to address the same learning objectives. This will involve data-mining in the extensive IODP on-line archives and study of unique deep-sea core samples from around the globe held in a special collection at Stockholm IGV. Once again, final decisions on this will not be made until later in August and we plan to post information as soon as it becomes available. Feel free to contact Helen Coxall the course director with any questions or concerns.


    We have not altered any of the assessments for the course. The final exam will take place at the University.

    Knowledge assessment and examination are in the form of written examinations.

    Is based on a written/oral assessment at the end of the course. Assessment criteria are:

    A = Excellent
    B = Very good
    C = Good
    D = Satisfactory
    E = Sufficient
    Fx = Insufficient
    F = Entirely insufficient

    The assessment criteria will be outlined at the start of the course. To pass the course, a minimum grade E is necessary.

  • Schedule

    The schedule will be available no later than one month before the start of the course. We do not recommend print-outs as changes can occur. At the start of the course, your department will advise where you can find your schedule during the course.
  • Course literature

    Note that the course literature can be changed up to two months before the start of the course.

    W.F. Ruddiman, 2014
    Earth's Climate: Past and Future
    W.H. Freeman, 3rd ed
    ISBN: 9781429255257

  • Course reports

    Course evaluations allow the possibility to affect and take responsibility for your own learning and gives important information for our work with pedagogical development.

    It's important that all students complete the course evaluations after each course, it gives the Department the opportunity to improve the courses' quality.

    The course evaluation is composed of a number of questions and specific questions for each course. If you, as a student, want to contribute with more course specific questions you may send them to

    If you haven't received the course evaluation for your finished course, or if you have other questions regarding course evaluations at IGV please contact

    Course evaluation = student's review of the course
    Course report = course leader's reflections about the review

  • Meet us

    Hellen takes a selfi on a private boat, Stockholm

    "Earth is our home. There is no second planet we can escape to if life on Earth becomes too difficult. Earth may seem vast and robust but what you learn from studying it’s geological history is that its various ocean, ice, climate and biological systems, upon which we depend for food, jobs and safe stable places to live, is fragile."

    Helen Coxall is a senior lecturer in marine micropaleontology, she teaches two courses at the undergraduate level.

    Read the article

  • Contact

    Helen CoxallSenior lecturer, Marine micropaleontology
    Helen Coxall
    +46 (0)8 674 78 58 | Room: R233