Last modified: 16 Nov 2016 17:53
Terrestrial ecosystems play a pivotal role in modulating the fluxes of energy and matter at the Earth’s surface, including the cycling of carbon, nutrients and greenhouse gases. Understanding the structure and function of terrestrial ecosystems is critical for understanding environmental challenges such as global warming, biodiversity loss, sustainable development and pollution. This course develops principles of systems ecology and biogeochemistry, focusing on the fundamental role played by living things in regulating key ecosystem processes such as carbon cycling, nutrient dynamics, trophic transfers, and land-atmosphere exchange of greenhouse gases.
|Session||First Sub Session||Credit Points||15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)|
This course will develop the fundamental principles of ecosystem ecology and biogeochemistry, to further develop the students’ understanding of how the principles of systems ecology can be applied to understand the structure and function of both natural and managed ecosystems. Key topics explored include: primary production (the carbon cycle, photosynthesis, plant growth and allocation patterns, plant ecophysiology); soil microbiology & organic matter dynamics (decomposer organisms, soil respiration, decomposition pathways, plant-microbe interactions); nutrient cycling (nutrient acquisition by plants, nutrient dynamics in soil, the nitrogen cycle); and ecosystem sustainability (human impacts, feedback effects). The course will consist of a mixture of lectures; both laboratory- and computer-based practical’s; and tutorials that explore current topical questions in the research literature.
Most of the course runs concurrently with PL3304. Level 5 students receive specialist tutorials in, e.g. applications of stable isotope techniques.
This is the total time spent in lectures, tutorials and other class teaching.
Practical assignment (67%) and Advanced Workshop Report (33%). NB Most of the course runs concurrently with PL3304. Level 5 students receive specialist tutorials in, e.g. biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, phosphorus cycling, isotope techniques, etc.
A strong emphasis will be made throughout the course on informal verbal feedback during practicals and tutorials sessions.