In the soil ecology course we explore the intersection of biological, chemical, and geological processes that shape the soil environment. In an era of unprecedented human-induced environmental change, research in this field is advancing rapidly. The course explores the processes underlying biogeochemical cycles of carbon and nutrients, soil formation and erosion, and we examine how human activities alter these processes. Topics include microbial and plant-mediated carbon and nutrient cycling, the role of biological diversity in biogeochemical processes, the importance of mycorrhiza for plant nutrition, soil food webs, and exploration into how new techniques are advancing studies of the soil environment.
Beyond lectures, the course consists of project work (individually and in groups), an excursion, and an extensive laboratory exercise aimed at characterizing soils chemically and biologically. The course is designed to facilitate critical discussion and analysis of various soil processes, and improve research, dissemination, and presentation skills
The course will be given during the first part of the autumn semester.