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BI1322

Soil biology and biogeochemical cycles

A large part of the global elemental cycles takes place in the soil. Here, energy, carbon and nutrients circulate between plants, dead organic matter, minerals, water and air. These fluxes are mediated by soil organisms, such as bacteria, fungi, animals and plant roots. These organisms and their activities are of crucial importance in agriculture and forestry, as well as for water quality and biodiversity. Ultimately, biological processes in soils have a major feed-back on the global climate. In this course we will learn about global biogeochemical cycles, and about soil organisms and their roles in these processes. We will not only provide theoretical concepts via course literature and lectures, but will provide hands-on experience in laboratory exercises, field excursions, interactive discussions and in projects on self-chosen topics. Furthermore, we will use our obtained knowledge to discuss how human practises may affect potential feedbacks between soils and biogeochemical cycles with an emphasis on land use, environmental problems and global change.

2020-12-01

Preliminary course schedule now online
Hi all, Welcome to our course 'Soil biology and biogeochemical cycles'. We have now uploaded the preliminary schedule. As you can see most of the course will be online but we have planned some activities on campus. It is still very unsure if and how we can proceed with these activities due to the ever changing corona situation. Please understand and be prepared that there may be some drastic last minute changes to this schedule (including obligatory moments). Best wishes, Karina Clemmensen and Eva Krab, course-leaders.

2020-12-14

The schedule has now been updated!

The the first practical on gas fluxes has been moved from Monday the 25th of January to Wednesday morning the 27th of January.

2021-01-04

The schedule has been updated again!

Due to the stricter recommendations of Folkshälsomyndigheten around the corona situation in Sweden, we have limited the number of physical meetings at SLU during our course replacing some of them by digital meetings. Please check the updated schedule to see what has changed. Please note that last moment changes may still occur.

Within the coming days students that have registred for the course in Ladok, will receive an invitation to the course Canvas site via email (to the address you used to register in Ladok). We will provide you with all course information and (zoom) links to the online meetings via this Canvas site. If you have not received this invitation some days before the start of the course please contact eveline.krab@slu.se

2021-01-15

Schedule updated and zoom links to lectures in Canvas

Coming Monday, our course will start at 10.30 in Zoom. Those who are listed in Ladok to join the course will by now have received an invitation to Canvas to their slu email (or alernatively have been contacted by us). On Canvas you can find the Zoom links to the lectures. If you are following the course, but have no access to Canvas yet please contact eveline.krab@slu.se

Please also check the updated schedule

2021-01-28

The course schedule is now updated

You will find the updated schedule by clicking the 'schedule' button.

The course evaluation is now closed

BI1322-30243 - Course evaluation report

Once the evaluation is closed, the course coordinator and student representative have 1 month to draft their comments. The comments will be published in the evaluation report.

Additional course evaluations for BI1322

Academic year 2019/2020

Soil biology and biogeochemical cycles (BI1322-30124) 2020-01-20 - 2020-03-24

Academic year 2018/2019

Soil biology and biogeochemical cycles (BI1322-30106) 2019-01-21 - 2019-03-25

BI1322 Soil biology and biogeochemical cycles, 15.0 Credits

Markens biologi och biogeokemiska kretslopp

Syllabus approved

2017-11-15

Subjects

Biology Soil science

Education cycle

Master’s level

Modules

Title Credits Code
Lectures, literature and seminars 7.50 1002
Laboratory exercises 3.00 1003
Project 4.50 1004

Advanced study in the main field

Second cycle, only first-cycle courses as entry requirements(A1N)

Grading 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.

Language

English

Prior knowledge

Knowledge equivalent to:
• 150 ECTS first-cycle courses, including
• 60 ECTS in a scientific subject such as Biology, Agricultural Science, Soil Science, Earth Sciences, Environmental Science or Technology,
• 15 ECTS Chemistry,
• 15 ECTS Soil Science, Earth Sciences or Biology
and
• a level of English equivalent to upper-seconday-school English (Engelska 6).

Objectives

The overall aim of this course is to acquire an advanced understanding of soil biology and biogeochemical cycles, to enable active discussion on the role of soil biota in ecosystems and production systems, and their interplay with global environmental change.

On completion of the course, the student will be able to:
• describe major groups of soil organisms, their interactions and responses to environmental conditions,
• describe biogeochemical processes and their interplay with organisms across scales,
• apply different methods for qualitative and quantitative analyses of soil organisms, biochemistry and major elemental cycles,
• analyze, evaluate and communicate soil biological and biogeochemical data,
• discuss impacts of human practices and potential feedbacks between soils and biogeochemical cycles, with emphasis on land use and global change.

Content

The below topics will be covered by course literature, lectures, assignments, literature discussions, field excursions, laboratory practical and project work.
• global biogeochemical cycles: carbon, nitrogen, sulfur and phosphorus cycling and underlying processes,
• methods for assessment of biogeochemical cycling: isotopes, organic matter quality and elemental fluxes,
• soil organisms and their involvement in processes: metabolism, decomposition, nutrient cycling, weathering and soil structuring,
• ecology: theory, strategies, community dynamics, interactions, and trophic cascading,
• the carbon cycle: organic matter quality, turnover and stability,
• the nitrogen cycle: transformations and soil fertility,
• basic laboratory techniques in soil biology and biogeochemistry,
• human impacts: forestry, agriculture, sustainable intensification, organic farming, ecotoxicology, global change, ecosystem services and conservation,
• the scientific process: experimental design, data analyses, peer review and presentation.

Formats and requirements for examination

Participation is obligatory for all course elements except lectures. The following is required for a pass mark on the course:
• passed written final examination of theoretical course content based on lectures and literature,
• approved participation in laboratory exercises, literature discussions, and excursions,
• approved participation in project work including oral and written presentation.
  • If the student fails a test, the examiner may give the student a supplementary assignment, provided this is possible and there is reason to do so.
  • If the student has been granted special educational support because of a disability, the examiner has the right to offer the student an adapted test, or provide an alternative assessment.
  • If changes are made to this course syllabus, or if the course is closed, SLU shall decide on transitional rules for examination of students admitted under this syllabus but who have not yet passed the course.
  • For the examination of a degree project (independent project), the examiner may also allow the student to add supplemental information after the deadline. For more information on this, please refer to the regulations for education at Bachelor's and Master's level.

Other information

  • The right to take part in teaching and/or supervision only applies to the course date to which the student has been admitted and registered on.
  • If there are special reasons, the student may take part in course components that require compulsory attendance at a later date. For more information on this, please refer to the regulations for education at Bachelor's and Master's level.

Responsible department

Department of Soil and Environment
Cooperating departments:
Department of Forest Mycology and Plant Pathology

Further information

Determined by: Programnämnden för utbildning inom naturresurser och jordbruk (PN - NJ)
Biology field: Ekologi
Replaces: BI1225, MV0172

Learning outcome 1

3: Describe major groups of soil organisms, their interactions and responses to environmental conditions

4: Explain how particular changes in environmental conditions may affect soil organisms and their interactions

5: Demonstrate capacity to critically challenge the course content, to compare contrasting views and to actively integrate course content with earlier personal experience

Learning outcome 2

3: Describe biogeochemical processes and their interplay with organisms across scales

4: Explain how particular changes in organism activities may affect biogeochemical processes across scales

5: Demonstrate capacity to critically challenge the course content, to compare contrasting views and to actively integrate course content with earlier personal experience

Learning outcome 3

3: Apply different methods for qualitative and quantitative analyses of soil organisms, biochemistry and major elemental cycles

4: Compare and discuss outcomes of different qualitative and quantitative analyses of soil organisms, biochemistry and major elemental cycles and how they relate to each other

Learning outcome 4

3: Analyze, evaluate and communicate soil biological and biogeochemical data

4: Demonstrate the ability to communicate and summarize various soil biological and biogeochemical data in a coherent manner.

Learning outcome 5

3: Discuss impacts of human practices and potential feedbacks between soils and biogeochemical cycles, with emphasis on land use and global change

4: Synthesize relevant hypotheses based on current societal/environmental issues concerning soil biology and biogeochemical cycles

5: Argue which new approaches could be used to solve societal/environmental issues concerning soil biology and biogeochemical cycles, and identify current knowledge gaps

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Teaching activities related to each intended learning outcome

  • 7.5 ECTS - Approved written final examination of theoretical course content based on lectures and literature (ILO 1,2,5)
  • 3.0 ECTS - Approved participation in laboratory exercises, literature discussions, and excursions (ILO 3, 4)
  • 4.5 ECTS - Approved participation in project work including oral and written presentation (ILO 4, 5)

Participation is obligatory for all course elements indicated with a * in the schedule

1) Chapter 2 - The Soil Habitat
Author: R.P. Voroney and R.J. Heck
ISBN: 978-0-12-415955-6
Comments: In: Soil Microbiology, Ecology and Biochemistry, 4th Edition
2) Chapter 11 - The Global Carbon Cycle
Author: William H. Schlesinger and Emily S. Bernhardt
ISBN: 978-0-12-385874-0
Comments: In: Biogeochemistry, 3rd Edition
3) Chapter 2 - Biotic Interactions in Soil as Drivers of Ecosystem Properties
Author: Richard Bardgett and David Wardle
ISBN: 978-0-19-954688-6
Comments: In: ‘Aboveground-Belowground Linkages: Biotic Interactions, Ecosystem Processes, and Global Change. Copies will be provided during course Oxford Series in Ecology and Evolution. Available via Canvas-website
4) Chapter 3 – The Bacteria and Archea
Author: Ken Killham and Jim I. Prosser
ISBN: 978-0-12-415955-6
Comments: In: Soil Microbiology, Ecology and Biochemistry, 4th Edition
5) Chapter 4 – The Soil Fungi: Occurrence Phylogeny and Ecology
Author: D. Lee Taylor and Robert L. Sinsabaugh
ISBN: 978-0-12-415955-6
Comments: In: Soil Microbiology, Ecology and Biochemistry, 4th Edition
6) Chapter 5 - Soil Fauna: Occurrence, Biodiversity, and Roles in Ecosystem Function
Author: David C. Coleman and Diana H. Wall
ISBN: 978-0-12-415955-6
Comments: In: Soil Microbiology, Ecology and Biochemistry, 4th Edition
7) Chapter 6 - Molecular Approaches to Studying the Soil Biota
Author: Janice E. Thies
ISBN: 978-0-12-415955-6
Comments: In: Soil Microbiology, Ecology and Biochemistry, 4th Edition
8) Chapter 7 - Physiological and Biochemical Methods for Studying Soil Biota and Their Functions
Author: Ellen Kandeler
ISBN: 978-0-12-415955-6
Comments: In: Soil Microbiology, Ecology and Biochemistry, 4th Edition
9) Chapter 9 - The Metabolic Physiology of Soil Microorganisms
Author: Alain F. Plante, Maddie M. Stone and William B. McGill
ISBN: 978-0-12-415955-6
Comments: In: Soil Biology, Ecology and Biochemistry, 4th Edition
10) Chapter 10 - The Ecology of the Soil Biota and their Function
Author: Sherri J. Morris and Christopher B. Blackwood
ISBN: 978-0-12-415955-6
Comments: In: Soil Microbiology, Ecology and Biochemistry, 4th Edition
11) Chapter 11 - Plant-Soil Biota Interactions
Author: R. Balestrini, E. Lumini, R. Borriello and V. Bianciotto
ISBN: 978-0-12-415955-6
Comments: In: Soil Microbiology, Ecology and Biochemistry, 4th Edition
12) Chapter 12 - Carbon Cycling: The Dynamics and Formation of Organic Matter
Author: William Horwath
ISBN: 978-0-12-415955-6
Comments: In: Soil Microbiology, Ecology and Biochemistry, 4th Edition
13) Chapter 13 - Methods for Studying Soil Organic Matter: Nature, Dynamics, Spatial Accessibility, and Interactions with Minerals
Author: Claire Chenu, Cornelia Rumpel and Johannes Lehmann
ISBN: 978-0-12-415955-6
Comments: In: Soil Microbiology, Ecology and Biochemistry, 4th Edition
14) Chapter 14 - Nitrogen Transformations
Author: G.P. Robertson and P.M. Groffman
ISBN: 978-0-12-415955-6
Comments: In: Soil Microbiology, Ecology and Biochemistry, 4th Edition
15) Chapter 15 - Biological N Inputs
Author: Peter J. Bottomley and David D. Myrold
ISBN: 978-0-12-415955-6
Comments: In: Soil Microbiology, Ecology and Biochemistry, 4th Edition
16) Chapter 12 - The Global Cycles of Nitrogen and Phosphorus
Author: William H. Schlesinger and Emily S. Bernhardt
ISBN: 978-0-12-385874-0
Comments: In: Biogeochemistry, 3rd Edition
17) Chapter 13 - The Global Cycles of Sulfur and Mercury
Author: W.H. Schlesinger and Emily S. Bernhardt
ISBN: 978-0-12-385874-0
Comments: In: Biogeochemistry, 3rd Edition

Course facts

The course is offered as an independent course: Yes The course is offered as a programme course: Agriculture Programme - Soil/Plant EnvEuro - European Master in Environmental Science Soil, Water and Environment – Master´s Programme Agriculture Programme - Soil/Plant (270hec) Soil and Water Management - Master´s Programme Tuition fee: Tuition fee only for non-EU/EEA/Switzerland citizens: 38054 SEK Cycle: Master’s level
Subject: Biology Soil science
Course code: BI1322 Application code: SLU-30243 Distance course: No Language: English Responsible department: Department of Soil and Environment Pace: 100%