Core course: Soil, soil biology & soil hydrology 2019

Category: Core course
0.2 CP per course day

The rationale of this module is to provide PhD researchers with a general idea of soil formation, life within the soil, the links to biogeochemical cycles, as well as transport processes.

Key integrating aspects (propositions, to be continued):

  • Everything is connected (i.e. the water, C, N, P and mineral cycles interact nowhere as closely as in the soil)
  • Time scales of the different interacting cycles (time of soil formation, vs. time of complete degradation of this years litter vs. time of complete exchange of water within the soil volume?)
  • Soil structure connects with biogeochemistry as well as water flow

1.  Date

May 6-17, 2019
The lectures will take place in the seminar room B0.002, B0.004 and in the Institute of Biodiversity (Dornburger Str. 159), Room 401.


2.  Suggested reading

Brady & Weil (2001). The Nature and Properties of Soils. Prentice Hall


3.  Outline

In the following you see the preliminary schedule:

L = lecture, D = demonstration, P = practical, E = excursion

Day & TimeTypeContentWho
Mon, May 6 Intro to soil science and the mineral phase of the soil 
09:00 - 10:30LImportant aspects of soil science
- Soil function and formation
- Intro to soil phases (water/air, mineral, organic)
Beate Michalzik
10:45 - 12:15LSoil classification
- Key concepts and systems
- Soil transfer functions
- Soil properties and ecological site characteristics
Beate Michalzik
13:15 - 16:30E/DSoil description and sampling (close to the MPI)
- Description of soil profile
- Measurement of simple soil properties in the field
Beate Michalzik
Wed, May 8 Soil lab
09:00 - 12:00D, P- Field Experiments & Instrumentation/Workshop

- Tools for soil sampling
- Soil sample processing

Iris Kuhlmann
13:00 - 15:00D, P- Sample preparation for different analyses

- Monitoring and manipulations
- Working with labeled material
- Introduction to the Service departments

Iris Kuhlmann
Thu, May 9 Soil fauna, pore & water phase, transport processes
09:00 - 10:30LOverview of soil fauna
- Biodiversity of soil organisms
- soil food webs
- Role of functional organism groups for biogeochemical processes (including their role for soil structure)
Markus Lange
10:45 - 12:30LSoil hydrology
- Water flow/storage in unsaturated and saturated media, incl. non-linear processes, macro-pore flow
- Water balance at soil surface
- Plant – water interactions
Anke Hildebrandt
13:30 - 15:00LTransport in porous media
Anke Hildebrandt
Fri, May 10 C-N cycles in the soil (connection to the organic soil phase)
09:00 - 10:30LSoil C and N stocks and turnover
- Carbon stabilization mechanisms
- C and N processes and interactions
- Methods for determination of substrates and C/N processes and isotopic markers
Gerd Gleixner
10:45 - 13:00L, PModeling soil C and N turnover (lecture and modeling exercises with C / N / H2O soil modules)

please bring a laptop with a current version of R and RStudio installed. You will need the packages SoilR and FME

Carlos Sierra
14:00 - 15:00LSoil degradation
- (compaction, loss of organic carbon, acidification, increased erosion, i.e. results of intensive land use)
Marion Schrumpf
15:15 - 16:15LResponse of soil processes to change of moisture and temperature (climate change)
Carlos Sierra
Wed, May 15

at Dornburger Str. 159

Soil biology (II)

lecture hall on the 4th floor

08:30 - 10:00LSoil microbiology
- Actors/drivers in element cycles
- Methods of soil biology (classical field & laboratory incubations)
Kirsten Küsel
10:15 - 13:00PDNA extraction from soil

PCR (16S Bacteria, 16S Archaea, 18S Eukarya)

Will Overholt
14:00 - 14:30PGelelectrophoresis (with prepared PCR products)

Gel analysis (with prepared Gel)

Will Overholt
14:30 - 16:00LWetland microbiology
- Actors/drivers in element cycles
Kirsten Küsel

4.  Material

Material of the soil lab by Iris Kuhlmann and Ingo Schöning (zip)


5.  Feedback

Click here to see the feedback of the participants. Statistics and statements should not be taken as an exhaustive or exclusive list.


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