The two written assignments for the course are expected to each run 5-10 typed pages long (1.5 spacing), including diagrams.

Term paper 1

Isoprenoid lipids are derived via two separate biochemical pathways namely the methylerythritol pathway (MEP) and the mevalonate pathway (MVA) which begin with very different carbon substrates. Discuss the biosynthetic controls on isotopic and molecular biosignatures of lipids originating from these two pathways and their implications for interpreting the fossil record.

Term paper 2

Biomarker and isotopic signals can be very diagnostic for important biogeochemical processes. Examples include: methane formation, methane oxidation, sulfate reduction, anammox, oxygenic photosynthesis, and anoxygenic photosynthesis. Select one process (not necessarily limited to those above) and discuss the lipid and isotopic proxies that are useful in studying their occurrences in nature, present and past.