Most ecological processes involve the soil. Here, energy, carbon and nutrients circulate between living plants, dead organic matter, minerals, water and air. These fluxes are mediated by soil organisms- bacteria, fungi, animals and plant roots, and are of central importance in agriculture and forestry as well as for biodiversity, water quality and the global climate. The course covers the different organisms found in soils: What are their sources of carbon, energy and nutrients? What products are produced? How do they interact with each other, with living and dead plants, as well as with the physical and chemical environment of the soil? These questions provide a framework for understanding ecological cycles and how they differ between various ecosystems - natural as well as man-made. The aim of the couse is to provide a sound basic understanding of soil biology, enabling further studies of applications within agriculture, forestry, nature conservation and environmental protection.
7 Nov 2011 - 15 Jan 2012, 35%, Daytime
Here you will find the reading list for the course and some useful links
The course evaluation is now closed,
click here to see the results.
Grading criteria for the course in Soil Biology, 5 HEC (BI0883)
For mark 3
• on the written exam, the student should be able to describe:
- the general biology and trophic strategies of soil organisms.
- biogeochemical cycles in plant/soil systems.
- how soil biology differs between contrasting ecosystems.
For mark 4
• on the written exam, the student should be able to:
- explain relations between properties of soil organisms, their abundance in contrasting ecosystems and their roles in the biogeochemical cycles.
- based on literature studies, analyse how different soil organism mediate and respond to anthropogenic disturbances.
• the student should take active part in lectures and exercises and demonstrate capacity to handle the course content in discussions.
For mark 5
• on the written exam, and orally during lectures and exercises, the student should demonstrate capacity to critically challenge the course content, to compare contrasting views and to actively integrate the course content with earlier experience and a personal scientific framework.
2007-11-29 (From AS 2008 to AS 2013)
Areas within Biology:
Other Biology Courses
Advanced study in the main field:
Second cycle, has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements (A1N)
5:Pass with Distinction, 4:Pass with Credit, 3:Pass, U:Fail
The requirements for attaining different grades are described in the course assessment criteria which are contained in a supplement to the course syllabus. Current information on assessment criteria shall be made available at the start of the course.
Knowledge equivalent to English B from upper secondary school is required as from the academic year 2009/10.
Equivalent to 180 credits including 90 credits in one of the subjects Biology, Chemistry, Agricultural Science, Soil Science, Geoscience, Environmental Science, Technology. At least 20 credits in Biology and at least 20 credits in Chemistry must be included alternatively at least 15 ECTS in Biology and at least 15 credits in Chemistry and at least 15 credits in Soil Science or Geoscience. English skills equivalent to English A from upper secondary school.
As an alternative to the above: Equivalent to 120 credits including at least 20 credits in Biology and at least 20 credits in Chemistry and at least 20 credits in Soil Science. English skills equivalent to English A from upper secondary school.
The course aims at conveying a deeper understanding of soil organisms and their interactions with the abiotic and biotic environment of the soil in agricultural and forest ecosystems.
At the end of the course, the student should be able to analyse the role of soil organisms in decomposition processes, plant nutrition, nutrient leaching and biogeochemical fluxes, as well as the effects of environmental changes on the biological systems of the soil.
This implies that the student should be able to:
- describe basic biology and trophic strategies of fungi, bacteria and soil animals
- describe carbon and nitrogen cycling in the plant/soil system
- describe biological differences between soils in different ecosystems
- analyse the effects of environmental changes on soil organisms and the consequences for carbon and nutrient cycling.
The course encompasses soil bacteria, fungi, protozoa and animals, their acquisition of carbon, energy and nutrients as well as their interactions with each other, living plants, plant litter and minerals. Carbon and nitrogen cycling in the soil, as well as inputs and losses of carbon and nutrients, is discussed from the viewpoint of the organisms. Subjects that are covered are: nitrogen fixation, biological weathering, decomposition, humus formation, nitrogen mineralisation, nitrification, denitrification, rhizodeposition, mycorrhizal symbiosis, food-webs and transport of carbon and nitrogen in fungal mycelia. The course contains lectures, seminars, an excursion and literature studies in groups with follow-up oral presentations and discussions.
Lectures ca 35 hrs
Seminars ca 10 hrs
Excursion ca 5 hrs (compulsory)
Group exercises ca 10 hrs (compulsory)
Examination ca 5 hrs
Literature studies ca 70 hrs
Total 135 hrs
Exam and oral presentation of group exercises
Requirements for examination:
Approved written exam, approved group exercises and participation in compulsory items
Department of Forest Mycology and Pathology
SLU, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, has its main locations in Alnarp, Skara, Umeå and Uppsala.Tel: +46 18-67 10 00 • Fax: +46 18-67 20 00 • VAT nr: SE202100281701 • email@example.com