Soil Biogeochemistry & Biogeophysics

ESPM 290 - Soil Pollution and Remediation - Fall

Time and location: Mon, 1-3, 103 Mulford Hall

Description: This seminar will explore environmental quality from the aspect of soil science by focusing on the interdisciplinary fields of soil pollution and remediation. Soil degradation is a global problem that encompasses physical, chemical and biological deterioration and it is estimated that 17% of the Earth’s vegetated land surface has experienced degradation in the past 70 years. This has dramatic consequences on the many crucial roles played by soils in the quality of our environment, affecting, for example, food and water quality and quantity, as well as human and ecosystem health. Soils can be a source, a sink or an interactive medium for the many contaminants and pollutants that affect living organisms and this seminar will explore how understanding soil properties and processes is essential to evaluate pollutants behaviour in soil, and to design (bio)remediation strategies. The seminar will discuss pollution related to agriculture, urbanization, energy generation… and will include current topics, relevant problems and discussion of emerging approaches to soil remediation, with a focus on bioremediation and phytoremediation.

ESPM 120 - Soil Characteristics - Fall

Time and location: Mon, Wed, & Fri 10-11, 132 Mulford Hall

Description: Introduction to basic principles of soil science, including soil formation and classification and the physical, engineering, chemical and biological properties of soils. Overview of methods of soil description, identification, geographic distribution and uses. The role of soil in supplying water and nutrients to plants and soil organisms and soil management for agriculture, forestry, and urban uses will also be discussed. We will also explore how to use those principles to minimize the degradation of soils.

ESPM 131 – Soil Microbial Ecology - Spring

Time and location: Mon, Wed, & Fri 12-1, 132 Mulford Hall

Description: Introduction to the organisms that live in the soil and their activities in the soil ecosystem. Lectures will cover the physical and chemical properties of soils and the soil as a habitat for microorganisms, the diversity and ecology of soil microorganisms, and their activity in the context of biogeochemical cycling, plant-microbe interactions, global environmental change and bioremediation.

Goals: To gain fundamental knowledge of the occurrence and activities of soil microorganisms and their influence on soil productivity and environmental quality as well as potential applications of soil microbiology. This course is targeted at advanced undergraduate and beginning graduate students who require a comprehensive treatment of the field of soil microbiology.

Topics include:
- Soil as a habitat for microorganisms
- Occurrence and distribution of soil organisms
- Methods for studying soil microorganisms
- Carbon cycling and soil organic matter
- Biogeochemical cycling of nutrients and metals
- Xenobiotic degradation and bioremediation