Dynamics of Complex Systems
12.517 G(2) 3­0­9 Spring 2003

The theme for Spring 2003 will be
Evolution of Biogeochemical Cycles.

This term we will focus on the dynamics of long-term biogeochemical cycles. Emphasis will be on the development of theories to explain and interpret observed variations in the geologic record. The class will be composed of pedagogical lectures and roundtable discussions of classical works and recent literature.

We will meet twice weekly. No background in earth science will be presumed; however mathematics at the level of 18.03 is essential.

Schedule: Mondays and Wednesdays from 3:00-4:30 in Rm. 54-313.

Instructor: Prof. Daniel Rothman

Tentative syllabus:
To view the detailed bibliography, click here.

Introduction and overview


Origin of cycles (Kaufman, 1969)
Modern theory of networks (Albert and Barabasi, 2002)


Kinetic treatment of geochemical cycles (Lasaga, 1980)

The carbon cycle I: Fluxes and reservoirs

Overview (Des Marais, 1997)
The entire beast (and the sulfur cycle) (Holser et al, 1988)
Lumping and time scales (Sundquist, 1985)

The carbon cycle II: Mechanisms and reconstructions

Stability (Walker et al., 1981)
Numerical models (Berner et al., 1983; Berner, 1989; Berner, 1991; Berner, 1994);
Critique (Edmond and Huh, 1997)

Geochemical records

Inorganic records (Veizer et al., 1999; Veizer et al., 2000)
Organic carbon: mechanisms (Goericke, 1994; Freeman, 2001)
Organic carbon: data (Hayes et al., 1999)
Flux models (Kump and Arthur, 1999)

The Proterozoic problem

Large fluctuations (Knoll et al., 1986)
Oxygenation (Des Marais et al., 1992; Canfield and Teske, 1996)
Extreme events (Hoffman and Schrag, 2002)
Reorganization (Logan et al., 1995)

  © Dan Rothman Group, 1999-2009
last updated: Mon Sep 26 14:35:54 2011