GEO4214 – Palynology, Palaeobotany and Palaeoclimatology

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Changes in the course due to coronavirus

Autumn 2020 we plan for teaching and examinations to be conducted as described in the course description and on semester pages. However, changes may occur due to the corona situation. You will receive notifications about any changes at the semester page and/or in Canvas.

Spring 2020: Teaching and examinations was digitilized. See changes and common guidelines for exams at the MN faculty spring 2020.

Course content

The course gives the students an introduction into the fossil record of land plants and algae, their evolution, biology, and morphology. The primary goal is to provide students with the practical skills to analyze pollen/spores and algae remains with microscopic techniques and the statistical modelling for the reconstruction of the palaeoenvironment and palaeoclimate.

Learning outcome

By the course end, you will know:

  • Evolution of selected plant and algae groups.
  • How to identify and classify terrestrial and marine palynomorphs.
  • How to use palynofacies to reconstruct sedimentary environments and evaluate their petroleum potential.
  • How to use plant fossils (stomata frequency, leaf margin and area) in palaeoclimate reconstructions (atmospheric pCO2 levels, temperature, precipitation).
  • How to use statistical methods to infer palaeoecological and palaeoclimatological trends from palynological assemblages.
  • How sedimentary transport and post-depositional processes control the plant fossil record.

Admission to the course

Students at UiO register for courses and exams in Studentweb.

Formal prerequisite knowledge

The course includes a compulsory field course and excursions. A health and safety course for safety in the field must be passed before you can go on these.

Overlapping courses


2 x 2 hours lectures and 1 x 2 hours practical exercises with palynological samples in palaeobotany and palynology, every week throughout the semester. Exercises are mandatory to attend and will be performed in the microscopy lab and in the computer lab in the Geology building. The results of the microscopy lab form the basis of a written report, counting towards the final grade.

There is a compulsory 1-day excursion to Botanical garden and Natural History Museum at Tøyen where plant evolution will be discussed.

Attendance at the first lecture is compulsory. Students who fail to meet, are considered to have withdrawn from the course unless they have previously given notice to the Student administration (

General information about excursions at the Department of Geosciences.

As the teaching involves laboratory and/or fieldwork, you should consider taking out a separate travel and personal risk insurance. Read about your insurance cover as a student.

We reserve the right to change the teaching form and examination of the course in semesters where 5 or fewer students have been admitted.


  • Attendance at exercises and the excursion must be approved before final examination for the course.
  • The written report from palynological exercises and the presentation in class counts for 50%.
  • Final written examination (3 hours) counts for 50%.

Examination support material

  • No examination support material is allowed.

Language of examination

You may write your examination paper in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Resit an examination

Students who can document a valid reason for absence from the regular examination are offered a postponed examination at the beginning of the next semester.

Re-scheduled examinations are not offered to students who withdraw during, or did not pass the original examination.

Special examination arrangements, use of sources, explanations and appeals

See more about examinations at UiO

Last updated from FS (Common Student System) Sep. 24, 2020 2:12:59 AM

Facts about this course

Teaching language