Module Identifier BS23420  
Academic Year 2000/2001  
Co-ordinator Professor William Adams  
Semester Semester 2  
Other staff Dr Lesley Manchester, Dr Gareth Griffith, Dr John Scullion  
Course delivery Lecture   30 Hours  
  Practical   18 Hours (6 x 3 hours)  
Assessment Exam   3 Hours One 3-hour theory paper   70%  
  Practical exercise   Continuous assessment of practicals   30%  
  Resit assessment   3 Hours One 3-hour theory paper (plus resubmission of failed coursework or an alternative)    

Aims and objectives
To develop an understanding of soils as an environment for living organisms ranging from microorganisms and soil animals to plants. Students will learn how the soil environment varies and about the diversity of organisms that live in soils and the processes that they carry out. Few areas of truly natural soils can be found in the UK and as time passes man?s influence on the nature and properties of soils is becoming more and more dominant often with the aim of increasing food production. This module provides an insight into soil as a living and dynamic entity upon which we all depend not only for food but also for sustaining the world?s diversity of natural flora and fauna.

The inorganic and organic constituents of which soils are formed will be outlined.
The dynamic nature of soil organic matter will be explained and the range of soil organisms described. The turnover of carbon, nitrogen and other nutrients will be described as an essential component of soils as a self-sustaining environment. Symbiotic and antagonistic interactions between microbes and plants will be explained. Essential plant nutrients will be outlined and also the main processes affecting their availability to plants. Various soil conditions causing plant stress will be explored including drought, waterlogging, salinity, acidity and heavy metal toxicity. The concept of soil fertility will be introduced and its relationship with soil productivity, nutrient status and sustainability explained. A series of laboratory practical classes will be linked directly to the lecture course and reinforce certain aspects of soil biology and plant nutrition.

Learning outcomes
On completion of the course, students will

Reading Lists
** Recommended Text
Marschner, H.. (1995) Mineral Nutrition of Higher Plants. Academic Press