SBL-51306 The Living Soil


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Independent study0
Course coordinator(s)Prof. dr. ir. GB De Deyn
C Vazquez Martin
Lecturer(s)prof. dr. ir. L Mommer
prof. dr. W de Boer
prof. dr. ir. WH van der Putten
prof. dr. H Smidt
dr. ir. J Helder
dr. J van Ruijven
Prof. dr. ir. GB De Deyn
Examiner(s)Prof. dr. ir. GB De Deyn

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

This course is at advanced MSc level and requires a solid background in soil science or ecology (for instance ENT-30306 Ecological Aspects of Bio-interactions or SBL-21806 Soil Quality or SBL-32806 Biological Interactions in Soils or CSA-20603 Soil-Plant Interactions or MIB-31306 Microbial Ecology).

Continuation courses:

MSc thesis SBL or NEM or FSE or MAT or PHP or PEN or MIB


This course deals with soil ecology from gene to ecosystem. It highlights the role of soil organisms in interaction with their heterogeneous environment in current topics with societal relevance. The subject areas covered will change over time, but key themes are: role of soil ecology in (i) (macro-)ecological theories, (ii) invasions and (iii) global change; (iv) applying soil ecological knowledge in the design of sustainable (agro)ecosystems; (v) soil ecology and ecosystem services; (vi) a systems biology approach to soil ecology.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- outline the state of the art in soil ecology;
- appraise current concepts and developments in soil ecology as related to ecology in general;
- critically evaluate primary literature in soil ecology;
- debate cutting-edge issues in soil ecology;
- develop new ideas in soil ecology individually and in interactions with fellow students.


Weeks 1-4 will each highlight one theme from a soil ecology perspective. Activities comprise self-study , tutorials, group work, oral presentations, document writing.


Grading for the course consists of:
- performance for the assignments of the tutors (70%)
- final presentation (30%)
- All to be completed with mark at least 5.5.


Will be provided at the beginning of the course, depending on the subjects chosen.