IMPRS-gBGC core course: Terrestrial Biosphere

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 IMPRS student with limited background knowledge in biology and ecology, this is the right course for you.


1.  When & where

  • July 08-12, 2013
  • Start at 09:00 in seminar room B0.002, MPI for Biogeochemistry
  • Thursday afternoon: Visit to the Jena Experiment (>> location in google maps)

2.  Registration

Click here to register before June 27, 2013.


3.  Outline

preliminary agenda

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

Mon  Important processes – basics of ecophysiologyHenrik Hartmann, Jan Muhr

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

- Moving energy within the plant
(Phloem transport (>> video))

>> slides

 p.m.D/Pmeasurements of photosynthesis (individual plant) and respiration

Make sure to wear weather-adapted, insensitive clothing.

Tue  Plants interacting with their environment Henrik Hartmann, Jan Muhr
 09:00-12:00LTemperature effects, water relations (>> video), role of nutrients (>> video), symbiosis (mycorrhizae), synthesis (>> video)

>> slides

 p.m.D/P- measurements of NEE and ecosystem respiration

- calculation of GPP - looking at water relations (leaf water potential)
(>> video)

Make sure to wear weather-adapted, insensitive clothing.

Wed  Plant traits and modeling plant/soil Jens Kattge, Carlos Sierra
 09:00-12:00L- biogeochemical cycles in general & models of BGC cycles (>> video)
- traits as characteristics of plants (including their relevance for determining soil properties)

>> slides, (>> video)

 14:00-17:00P/Dbuilding 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. You will need the deSolve package for solving differential equations.

The model will be presented in a way that you can follow without knowing R.

(>> video part 1), (>> video part 2), (>> video part 3)

Thu  Biodiversity – plants interacting with each other and higher trophic levels
topics include
- What determines biodiversity?
- Why do we conduct biodiversity experiments?
-Productivity from the perspective of plants & interaction with the fauna
The focus will be on functional biodiversity.
Christiane Roscher, Anne Ebeling, Markus Lange
 09:00 - ca. 10:00LBiodiversity - an introduction >> slides, (>> video)
 ca. 10:10 - ca. 11:10LBiodiversity on the community level >> slides, (>> video)
 ca. 11:20 - ca. 12:20LInteraction with higher trophic levels (>> slides), (>> video)
 13:30 - ca. 15:30Efield trip to the Jena Experiment (ca. 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, 13:30

Make sure to wear weather-adapted, insensitive clothing.

Fri  Plants in Landscapes & large scale biodiversity / biogeographyShaun Levick, Axel Kleidon
 09:00 - 10:30LPattern and process at landscape scales

- the physical template
- biotic processes
- disturbance
- tools, metrics and models

(>> video)

Shaun Levick
 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

>> slides, (>> video)

Axel Kleidon
 14:00 - 16:00L

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

Axel Kleidon & Shaun Levick

4.  Feedback by the participants

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