PLSCS 4660 - Soil Ecology

Spring. 4 credits. Student option grading.

Prerequisite: one year of biology or ecology. PLSCS 2600  is desirable or permission of instructor.

J. Thies.

Discover the wonder of life underground. In this course, students study the amazing diversity of soil organisms along with their multifaceted functions in terrestrial ecosystems. The fundamental principles and features of biologically mediated processes in the soil and the functions of soil biota in both managed and unmanaged ecosystems are highlighted. Special topics include beneficial symbioses, biological control of plant pathogens, biogeochemistry of unique habitats, bioremediation and composting of organic wastes, among others. Laboratory focuses on molecular activities and traditional methods for assessing the abundance, activity, and diversity of soil organisms.

Outcome 1: Access, understand and apply concepts in ecology, microbiology, biology and biochemistry as they relate to the study of soil sub-systems.

Outcome 2: Understand how the soil biota and their activities contribute to global biogeochemistry, plant productivity and environmental quality.

Outcome 3: Manage the world's soils to enhance ecosystem services provided by the soil biota.

Outcome 4: Understand and evaluate research articles and research methods.

Outcome 5: Identify research questions, apply appropriate methods, gather and analyze data, and prepare research reports.

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