SBL-32806 Biological Interactions in Soils


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Course coordinator(s)Prof. dr. ir. GB De Deyn
C Vazquez Martin
Lecturer(s)dr. ir. JW van Groenigen
dr. G Moinet
Prof. dr. ir. GB De Deyn
Examiner(s)Prof. dr. ir. GB De Deyn
dr. ir. JW van Groenigen

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

Ecology - I; Introductory course in Soil Science.

Continuation courses:

SOC-36306 Biogeochemical Cycles and Climate Change Mitigation and Climate Change; SBL-31806 Nutrient Management; SBL-35306 The Carbon Dilemma.


Note: This course has a maximum number of participants. The deadline for registration is one week earlier than usual.
See Academic Year.( -> Registration for Courses.

This course deals with interactions between soil organisms and soil in the context of cycles of C, N and P. Important topics of soil fertility and global change will be addressed. Keywords: organic matter decomposition and nutrient mineralization, reactions of plants to excess and deficiency, role of plants, mycorrhizas and soil fauna in C, N and P cycles, soil structure, greenhouse gas emissions. The practical will train basic experimental techniques in soil biology and fertility, experimental design and processing of data. Part of the experiments can be designed by the students so that they complete the whole experimental cycle.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- demonstrate knowledge of the main interactions in the soil between plants, nutrients and soil biota;
- demonstrate insight in the effects of human-induced disturbances on these interactions;
- critically evaluate and discuss conflicting views in the literature on key biotic interactions in the soil;
- design, execute and report experiments that quantify interactions between biota and cycles of carbon, phosphorus and nitrogen.


- lectures;
- tutorials;
- practicals (hypothesis formulation and testing; reporting);
- invasive species assignment (critical thinking).


- written examination (50%);
- assignment (20%);
- practical reports (30%).


Documents on Brightspace: Pdf's of lectures, and a selection of scientific articles.

Restricted Optional for: BSWSoil, Water, AtmosphereBSc2AF
MBIBiologyMScD: Spec. D - Ecology2AF
MEEEarth and EnvironmentMScC: Spec. C - Biology and Chemistry of Soil and Water2AF
MESEnvironmental SciencesMScA: Spec. A - Environmental Quality2AF
MPSPlant SciencesMScC: Spec. C - Natural Resource Management2AF
MPSPlant SciencesMScE: Spec. E - Plant Pathology and Entomology2AF
MCLClimate StudiesMScC: Spec. C - Ecological and Agroecological Systems2AF