Terrestrial Ecosystem Processes and Global Change

Course content

The aim of the course is to provide the participants with a comprehensive understanding of processes in terrestrial ecosystems, and effects of global change on processes and organisms. The focus is on carbon, water and nutrient cycling between plants, soil organisms, soil, and atmosphere. This includes lessons in radiation and energy balance, photosynthesis, respiration, water use efficiency and measures of stress, at leaf, plant and canopy level. Belowground processes as plant nutrient uptake and microbial turnover, mobilization and immobilization of nutrients, plant-microbe-animal interactions, rhizosphere processes and mycorrhizal function are also addressed, with focus on the importance of climate and anthropogenically induced climatic changes. Field and laboratory studies are performed and the results are presented orally and in reports. It is mandatory for the participants to present one or two journal papers with relation to the subjects taught in the lectures, and effects of global change in particular.

Education

MSc Programme in Biology
MSc Programme in Agriculture

Learning outcome

Knowledge:

The aim of the course is to provide the participants with a comprehensive understanding of processes in terrestrial ecosystems, and effects of global change on processes and organisms. The focus is on carbon, water and nutrient cycling between plants, soil organisms, soil, and atmosphere. This includes lessons in radiation and energy balance, photosynthesis, respiration, water use efficiency and measures of stress, at leaf, plant and canopy level. Belowground processes as plant nutrient uptake and microbial turnover, mobilization and immobilization of nutrients, plant-microbe-animal interactions, rhizosphere processes and mycorrhizal function are also addressed, with focus on the importance of climate and anthropogenically induced climatic changes.

Skills:

The participants will obtain insight into the cycling of carbon, water and nutrient cycling between plants, soil, soil organisms and atmosphere, and to dissiminate this knowledge to fellow students and non-specialists. This includes experience in relevant methods for data acquisition. Field and laboratory work is performed and the data are presented in a report which includes statistical analysis of data and discussion of results. It is mandatory for the participants to present one or two journal papers with relation to the subjects taught in the lectures.

Competences:

The student will achieve in-depth knowledge of carbon, water and nutrient cycling in terrestrial ecosystems and on potential effects of environmental changes on key ecosystem processes. The student will obtain the necessary theoretical insight to be able to understand and comment critically on issues such as effects of climatic change, nitrogen deposition and changed land use on ecosystem function and feedback processes to the environment.

Lectures, seminars and exercises.

See Absalon.

ECTS
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination, 2 hours under invigilation
Oral examination, 30 minutes, no preparation time
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Aid
All aids allowed

Textbook and other aids.

NB: If the exam is held at the ITX, the ITX will provide computers. Private computers, tablets or mobile phones CANNOT be brought along to the exam. Books and notes should be brought on paper or saved on a USB key.

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examiners
Criteria for exam assessment

A student that has successfully passed the course examination with a level of "12" will be able to possess the following qualifications:

  • describe functional differences between selected main terrestrial ecosystem types, and major biomes
  • describe biogeochemical and ecophysiological processes controlling ecosystem productivity
  • explain the exchange of gases at soil, leaf and ecosystem level, and effects of climate change on the processes
  • describe the interactions between plants, soil and microbes in relation to decomposition, organic matter turnover, and plant nutrient uptake
  • evaluate the effects of global change such as altered land use, N deposition, CO2 concentration, UV-B radiation and climate change on ecosystems and key organisms, as well as possible feed back mechanisms to the climate
  • use a range of relevant ecophysiological, biogeochemical and biological measurement techniques
  • use statistical software to analyse data using ANOVA, t-test and correlation, and to report the results and discuss the biological implications using relevant literature
  • critically discuss scientific and popular articles as well as to mediate them orally and in writing

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Exam
  • 3
  • Excursions
  • 8
  • Preparation
  • 131
  • Lectures
  • 24
  • Colloquia
  • 14
  • Practical exercises
  • 10
  • Project work
  • 15
  • Theory exercises
  • 1
  • English
  • 206