Dynamics of Complex Systems
12.517 Spring 2004

The theme for Spring 2004 will be
Great Biogeochemical Events: Origin and Dynamics.

This term we will focus on major events in Earth history, with an emphasis on phenomena that may be quantitatively understood in terms of dynamical biological and environmental coevolution.

The class will be composed of pedagogical lectures and roundtable discussions of classical works and recent literature. We will meet once per week. No background in earth science will be presumed; however mathematics at the level of 18.03 is essential.

The class meets Mondays 2:30-4:30 in Rm. 54-313.

Instructor: Prof. Daniel Rothman

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

1. Community metabolism and the carbon cycle (Hayes et al, 1989)

2. Energy flow and the origin of cycles (Morowitz, 1968)

3. Origin of metabolism (Dyson, 1985; Bagley and Farmer, 1992)

4. Breakdown of cycles: Mass extinctions

Impact: Cretaceous-Tertiary (Alvarez et al., 1980; D'Hondt et al, 2003)
Enigma: Permian-Triassic (Erwin, 1994; Dolenec et al., 2001)
More enigmas: Triassic-Jurassic (Palfy et al., 2001) and Ordovician (Kump and Arthur, 1999)
Biomarker evidence: Devonian (Joachimski et al, 2001)

5. Methanic bursts

Late Paleocene (TBA).
Neoproterozoic "cap carbonates" (Jiang et al., 2003)

6. Oceanic anoxic events (TBA)

7. Models of anoxia (TBA)

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