Module Identifier BSM1810  
Academic Year 2003/2004  
Co-ordinator William A Adams  
Semester Semester 2  
Other staff Dr John Scullion  
Course delivery Practical   12 Hours 4 x 3 hour practicals  
  Lecture   20 Hours 20 x 1 hour lectures  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Exam2 Hours examination  70%
Semester Assessment Practical Exercise:  30%

Learning outcomes

Students completing the module should i) know the main constituents of soils, ii) be aware of the main transformations of
essential plant nutrients in soils and their effect on nutrient availability, iii) be able to describe quantitatively conditions
causing plant stress, why stress occurs and general plant responses to stress.


To develop an understanding of soils as an environment for living organisms, in particular plants, Students will
also learn about the diversity of soils and their relationship with vegetation.


the first lecture explains the structure and properties of the most important inorganic constituents of soils including
crystalline and poorly ordered silicates and oxides. Particular attention is paid to the surface active properties of ion
exchange and specific anion absorption. the organic constituents of soils are then considered. Organic matter
breakdown and the formation and nature of stable soil humus are explained. The main groups which compose the living
population of soils are detailed and the way differences in soil physical and chemical properties affect the balance of
different groups of soil organisms is explained. Essential nutrients that plants obtain from soil are then treated in turn to cover, quantitative requirements, uptake utilisation, roles in plant metabolism, visual soil conditions likely to lead to deficiency/
toxicity, transformation in soils which affect availability and soil conditions likely to lead to deficiency or toxicity. In the final
section of the module the diffierent types of soil condition that influence the performance and survival of different plant species
are examined. Soil waterlogging, drought, salinity, alkalinity and common deficiencies/toxicites are discussed from the
standpoint of how conditions develop, how they can be quantified and what comditions are critical. Where relevant the
impact of soils on the chemistry of the aquatic environment will be considered. Laboratory classes include experiments
on chemical reduction processes in soils, the determination of salinity and properties of acidic soils and an examination of
common plant toxicities.

Reading Lists

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


This module is at CQFW Level 7