Core course: Soil, soil biology & soil hydrology 2017

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

February - March 2017
The lectures will take place in the seminar room B0.002 and in the Institute of Ecology (Dornburger Str. 159).


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, Feb 27 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
ca. 10:45 - 12:15LSoil classification
- Key concepts and systems
- Soil transfer functions
- Soil properties and ecological site characteristics
Beate Michalzik
ca. 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
Fri, March 3 Soil lab
9.00 - 11.00D Iris Kuhlmann
13.00 - 15.00D Iris Kuhlmann
Wed, March 8 Pore / Water phase of the soil, and transport processes & Soil fauna
09:00 - 10:30LSoil 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
ca. 10:45 - 12:15LTransport in porous media
Anke Hildebrandt
13:30 - 15:00LOverview 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
Thu, March 9 C-N cycles in the soil (connection to the organic soil phase)
11:00 - 12:30LSoil 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
13:30 - 16:00LModeling soil C and N turnover: ca. 1h lecture, then modeling exercises with C / N / H2O soil modules, incl. break

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

Carlos Sierra
Wed, March 15 Environmental change / Human impacts
10.00 - 11.00 Soil degradation
- (compaction, loss of organic carbon, acidification, increased erosion, i.e. results of intensive land use)
Marion Schrumpf
11:15 - 12:15 Response of soil processes to change of moisture and temperature (climate change)
Carlos Sierra
Thu, March 16

at Dornburger Str. 159

Soil biology (II)

lecture hall & labs on the 2nd floor

09:30 - 11:00LSoil microbiology
- Actors/drivers in element cycles
- Methods of soil biology (classical field & laboratory incubations)
Kirsten Küsel
11:00 - 13:00PDNA extraction from soilJens Wurlitzer & Patricia Lange
13:45 - 14:45LWetland microbiology
- Actors/drivers in element cycles
Kirsten Küsel
14:45 - 16:15PPCR (16S Bacteria, 16S Archaea, 18S Eukarya)

Gelelectrophoresis (with prepared PCR products)
Gel analysis (with prepared Gel)

Jens Wurlitzer & Patricia Lange

The soil lab demonstration will be carried out in two groups owing to the restricted place in the MPI labs. Participants of the course will be informed about the grouping by February 23 (confirmation message of the IMPRS-gBGC coordination office).


4.  Material

Handout by Iris Kuhlmann
Field Experiments and Instrumentation / Workshops by Iris Kuhlmann
Slides of Anke Hildebrandt


5.  Feedback

The survey gives feedback of 10 (out of 16) participants. Statistics and statements should not be taken as an exhaustive or exclusive list.

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