GEO4214 – Palynology, Palaeobotany and Palaeoclimatology

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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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 the 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.


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


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.

Recommended previous knowledge

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Overlapping courses

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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 computer lab in the Geology building. The results of the microscopy lab forms 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 Students who fail to meet, are considered to have withdrawn from the course unless they have previously given notice to the student administration, email address:

General information about excursions at the Department of Geosciences.

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


  • 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.

Explanations and appeals

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.

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course






Every spring


Every spring

Teaching language