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SOILS/AECL 4140 5140

Spring 2013 Syllabus

Instructor: Dr. Peter D. Stahl (office hours 9-11 am, MWF; or by appointment)

office 23 Agriculture Bldg (phone: 766-2179,

labs 2030 Agriculture Bldg (phone 766-5245)

Credit: 4 hours

Lecture: MWF 11:00 - 11:50 AM Agriculture Bldg Room 41

Laboratory: Thursday 1:20 - 4:20 Agriculture Bldg Room 5028

Text: Sylvia, D.M., J.J. Fuhrman, P.G. Hartel, and D.A. Zuberer. 2005. Principles and

Applications of Soil Microbiology (2nd Ed.), Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ.

Course objectives:

1. Provide students with an understanding of the importance of microorganisms

and biotic processes to soil properties, ecosystem function and agriculture.

2. Impart students with a knowledge of soil as a habitat for organisms.

3. Introduce students to the morphology, physiology and ecology of the major groups of soil microorganisms.

4. Familiarize students with the roles of microorganisms in biogeochemical processes occurring in soil.

5. Introduce students to some practical applications of soil microbiology to problems in agriculture and environmental quality.

6. Aid students in relating soil microbiology and biochemistry to their own areas of

applied or research interest.

Course requirements:

Exams: Three 1 hour exams (including Final)

100 points each (300)

Lab Reports: 3 complete Lab writeups

25 points each (75)

Lab Worksheets 10 assignments

10 points each (100)

Term Paper: Laboratory or Library research paper

(Topic must be approved by instructor)

150 points

625 total points possible

No makeups for exams, quizzes or labs without prior permission from instructor or

written physician's excuse.

Course Grading:

A final letter grade will be assigned according to the standard 90-100 =A, 80-89 = B, 70-79 = C, etc. system.


Exams in this course are all short answer and essay type questions. The type of answers students will have to provide range from one word to one or two paragraphs. All exams are comprehensive.

Laboratory Writeups:

See Lab Syllabus

Term Papers:

Term papers are required in this course. Students enrolled in 4140 are must submit a minimum 10 page paper and students enrolled in 5140 must submit a 15 page paper. Term paper requirements and guidelines will be described in more detail in another class handout and will also be discussed by the instructor in class. Term papers are worth 150 of the total class points or almost one quarter of your grade.

SOILS/AECL 4140 - 5140: SOIL MICROBIOLOGY 2013 Schedule

I. Introduction to Soil Microbiology (14-19 Jan)

- History and Development of Soil Microbiology

- Relevance to ecology, agriculture and environmental quality

II. Soil as a habitat for microorganisms (21 Jan 8 Feb)

- Introduction

What is soil and why is it such a good habitat for organisms

- Mineral component

- Soil water and water relations

- Soil atmosphere

- Soil organic matter and soil carbon

III. Soil microorganisms (13 Feb 13 March)

- Introduction

Microbial Diversity in soil

Microbial Biomass in soil

- Viruses

- Bacteria

- Actinomycetes

- Fungi

- Algae

- Protozoa

- Soil Metazoa

- Soil Food Webs

- Microbial Interactions

IV. Microbial processes in soil (25 March 15 April)

- Organic matter decomposition

- Nutrient mineralization and immobilization

- Carbon transformations and cycling

- Nitrogen transformations and cycling

- Phosphorus transformations and cycling

- Sulfur transformations and cycling

- Other elemental transformations

V. Soil microorganisms and plants (17-19 April)

- Rhizosphere

- Mycorrhizae

VI. Applied soil microbiology (26-29 April)

- Soil management and soil microorganisms

- Manipulations of soil microorganisms for agriculture

- Bioremediation of environmental contaminants

*****(All dates approximate)