Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Soil Biology, 5.0 credits

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.

Prerequisites

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.

Tuition fee for non-EU/EEA/Switzerland citizens

11,250 SEK

Time

7 Nov 2011 - 15 Jan 2012, 35%, Daytime

Cycle
Advanced
Subjects
Biology, Soil Science
Application code
SLU-20042
Location
Uppsala
Distance
No
Language
English

Responsible department

Department of Forest Mycology and Pathology

Course leader

Björn Lindahl
Telephone: 018-672725
E-mail: bjorn.lindahl@mykopat.slu.se

Literature/links

Here you will find the reading list for the course and some useful links

Soil Microbiology, Ecology, and Biochemistry
E.A. Paul
978-0-12-546807-7
Third edition

Links

Sara Hallin's lecture on bacteria

Sara Hallin's lecture on archaea

Compendium from Björn's lectures

Sara Hallin's lectures on N-cycling

Thomas Kätterer's lecture on agricultural soils

Hanna Friberg's lecture on root associated microorganisms

Example exam

Evaluation

The course evaluation is now closed, click here to see the results.

Grading criteria

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.



Contacts

Kursledare

Björn Lindahl
institutionen för skoglig mykologi och patologi
Bjorn.Lindahl@slu.se
018-672725

Lärare

Sara Hallin
mikrobiologi
Sara.Hallin@slu.se
018-673209

Thomas Kätterer
ekologi, systemekologi
Thomas.Katterer@slu.se
018-672425

Mikael Pell
mikrobiologi
Mikael.Pell@slu.se
018-673225

Roger Finlay
skoglig mikrobiologi
Roger.Finlay@slu.se
018-671554

Hanna Friberg
växtpatologi/sjukdomar i jordbruksgrödor
Hanna.Friberg@slu.se
018-671876, 070-3931106

Marianne Clarholm
institutionen för skoglig mykologi och patologi
marianne.clarholm@slu.se
018-671575

Astrid Taylor
ekologi, landskapsekologi
Astrid.Taylor@slu.se
018-672216

Lisette Lenoir
markekologi
Lisette.Lenoir@ekol.slu.se
018-671505

Student representative

Linda Isaksson
liis0002@stud.slu.se

Syllabus

BI0883 Soil Biology, 5.0 credits

Markbiologi

The course is given Agriculture Programme (admission before 1 July 2007), Environmental Pollution and Risk Assessment - Master's Programme, Natural Resources Programme - Biology and Soil Science, Soil and Water Management - Master´s Programme, Agriculture Programme - Soil/Plant, EnvEuro - European Master in Environmental Science and Ecology - Master´s Programme

Syllabus approved: 2007-11-29  (From AS 2008 to AS 2013)

Versions:     1.  AS 2008  -  AS 2013

Subjects: Biology/Soil Science

Areas within Biology: Other Biology Courses

Education cycle: Advanced cycle

Cycle: D

Advanced study in the main field: Second cycle, has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements (A1N)

Marking scale: 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.

Prerequisites:
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.

Objective:
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.

Content
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.

Implementation
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

Examination:
Exam and oral presentation of group exercises Requirements for examination:
Approved written exam, approved group exercises and participation in compulsory items

  • If there are grounds for it and if it is possible, the examiner is entitled to set supplementary assignments for a student who has not obtained a pass grade on an exam.
  • If a student has a decision from SLU about special pedagogic support due to functional disability, the examiner may set an adapted exam or select an alternative testing method.
  • If this course syllabus is changed or if this course is cancelled, SLU must decide on transitional rules for the assessment of a student who was admitted under the previous course syllabus and has not yet been approved.

Additional information

  • A student who has been admitted to and registered on a course is entitled to receive teaching and/or supervision only for the course date he/she was admitted to.
  • A student who for special reasons is unable to participate in compulsory elements, is entitled an opportunity to recover those elements during a course given at a later date. More information is available in the regulations for education.

Responsible department
Department of Forest Mycology and Pathology

Location
Uppsala


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 • webbredaktionen@slu.se