IMPRS-gBGC core course: Terrestrial Biosphere

Category: Core course
0.2 CP per course day


This course will focus on processes important in biosphere-atmosphere exchange of greenhouse gases as well as methods used to scale these exchange processes to understand their importance in global biogeochemical cycles.

The emphasis will be on plants since soils are covered in a separate course.

If you are an doctoral researcher with limited background knowledge in biology and ecology, this is the right course for you.


1.  When & where


2.  Outline

preliminary agenda

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

Mon, Aug. 21  Introduction
 14:00 - 15:30L

Hierarchical theory and levels of organization of biological systems
- Intro to ecophysiology
- Ecosystem and Biospheric levels of organization

Carlos Sierra
Tue, Aug. 22  Biodiversity – plants interacting with each other and higher trophic levelsChristiane Roscher, Anne Ebeling
 9:00 - 10:30L

- What is biodiversity?
- Changes and threat on biodiversity
- Consequences of biodiversity loss

 11:00 - 12:00L

- Biodiversity experiments
- Biodiversity and ecosystem processes

 14:00 - 16:30E

Field trip to the Jena Experiment (ca. 2 1/2 h on site)
(how to get there: >>, start: Beutenberg Campus, stop: Jena, Zwätzen Brückenstr. or Jena-Zwätzen (Zug))

Meeting point is at the Jena Experiment
Make sure to wear weather-adapted, insensitive clothing.

Wed, Aug. 23  Ecophysiology IHenrik Hartmann
 9:00 - 12:00L

Photosynthesis, respiration and phloem transport
- Intro
- Why are plants important?
- The currency of life and its economic motor – photosynthesis
(Background and history, light-dependent reactions, ATP, light-independent reactions, adaptations: C3, C4, CAM, Photorespiration)
- Life requires energy – respiration
(substrate-level phosphorylation, oxidative phosphorylation, alternative oxidase)
- Moving energy within the plant
(Phloem transport)

Henrik Hartmann
 13:00 - 16:30D/P

Measuring photosynthesis using Licor 6400
Estimation of GPP/NPP using a closed chamber approach
Measuring carbohydrates

Henrik Hartmann
Thu, Aug. 24  Ecophysiology II
 09:00 - 12:00L

Water transport, mineral nutrition and symbiotic interactions

Henrik Hartmann
 13:00 - 17:00D/P

Measuring plant water potential
Measuring stem respiration
Stem diameter measurements
Measuring sap flow

Henrik Hartmann
Fri, Sep. 1  Plants in Landscapes & large scale biodiversity / biogeographyAxel Kleidon
 09:00 - 10:30L

Pattern and process at landscape scales
- the physical template
- biotic processes
- disturbance
- tools, metrics and models

 11:00 - 12:30L

Large scale biodiversity and biogeography
- from plants to biomes and biodiversity
- exchange fluxes of the biosphere
- atmosphere-biosphere interactions
- the global biosphere

 14:00 - 16:00L

Lab exercise - geophysical modelling
(laptops needed)
(>> daisy world spreadsheet)

Wed, Sep. 6  Plant traits and modeling plant/soil Jens Kattge, Carlos Sierra
 09:00 - 10:30L

Biogeochemical cycles in general & models of BGC cycles
Traits as characteristics of plants (including their relevance for determining soil properties)

 11:00 - 12:30L

Mathematical representation of ecosystem models

 14:00 - 17:00P/D

Building a simple biogeochemical model in 3 steps of abstraction (visual representation, mathematical representation, working model)
for this part, please bring a laptop with a current version of R and RStudio installed. The model will be presented in a way that you can follow without knowing R.


3.  Material

Presentation "Biodiversity" by Christiane Roscher
Poster 1, Poster 2, Poster 3 from the Jena Experiment
Presentation "Ecophysiology I" by Henrik Hartmann
Presentation "Ecophysiology II" by Henrik Hartmann
Presentation by Axel Kleidon
Material by Carlos Sierra
Presentation by Jens Kattge


4.  Feedback

There are the results from the surveys. All participants contributed to the evaluation results of the first part (day 1-4) and the second part (day 5-6) of the course. Statements and statistics should not be taken as an exhaustive or exclusive list.

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