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Introduction to soil science for graduate students including fundamentals of and applications to plant production and environmental sustainability. SOILS 502 Soils Properties and Functions (3)This course provides an introduction to soil science, emphasizing the three areas of biological, chemical and physical properties of soils. It is intended as an introductory course in soil science for graduate students whose work would benefit from background knowledge of soil science but who have not previously been exposed to the science of soils as an undergraduate. As a graduate course, the pace of learning will be rapid, and the material covered will be quite comprehensive. The breadth of material is comparable to that covered in an undergraduate introduction to soil science, but with greater depth. The class will incorporate a substantial level of experiential components, including chemical analysis lab practice overview, some labs for gaining insight into physical properties, and field trips to help students gain an appreciation of how soils are influenced by, and also influence, the landscape in which they exist. Landscape visits with guided discussions, research proposal development and analysis, and selected soil management problem analysis provide students opportunities to synthesize classroom and textbook based material. Students will be evaluated based on quizzes, exams and written assignments.
SOILS 504: Unsaturated Zone Hydrology and Chemical Transport
Unsaturated Zone Hydrology and Chemical Transport
Recommended Preparations: At least one undergraduate course in Mathematics and in Chemistry. GEOSC 452 This course provides the theoretical basis for and mathematical description of the transport of water and chemicals through the unsaturated zone between the soil surface and the regional water table. This zone is frequently referred to as the vadose zone. In particular, the course investigates the solutions to problems involving the transport of water and chemicals through the vadose zone, such as might be the case when attempting to predict direction and rate of a contaminant spill, or to determine the length of time required for contaminant remediation, or to protect buried waste from infiltrating water. Students will recognize parameters required in order to develop solutions to identified problems, will identify means to obtain values of the needed parameters, and will develop model solutions in order to gain insight into expected outcomes of proposed solutions.
SOILS 507: Soil Physics
3-4 Credits/Maximum of 4
3-4 Credits/Maximum of 4
Soil physical properties emphasizing water, heat, gas, and ion movement in unsaturated soils. Laboratory included with 4 credits.
Prerequisite: 6 credits each of calculus, physics, and soils
SOILS 510: Geographic Information System Applications
Geographic Information System Applications
Soil data bases, image processing, and geographic information systems will be used to model and understand land and water resources.
Prerequisite: GEOG 457
SOILS 512: Environmental Soil Microbiology
Environmental Soil Microbiology
Biology and ecology of microorganisms in terrestrial environments; microbiological and molecular analysis methods; microbial processes in carbon and nitrogen cycling. SOILS 512 Environmental Soil Microbiology (3) Environmental Soil Microbiology (SOILS 512) examines the major groups of microorganisms and their processes and interactions in terrestrial systems, with an emphasis on carbon and nitrogen cycling. Students will obtain an overview of the biology, ecology, and functions of bacteria, archaea, and fungi in soils, rhizospheres, sediments, and organic wastes. This course is intended for students interested in spatial and temporal distribution and activities of microorganisms in the environment, as well as in appropriate methods for analyzing microbes in environmental samples. Course format will consist of two weekly lectures, each followed by a 25 -min discussion period. Class discussions will include exercises and reviews of recent literature on classical and molecular soil/environmental microbiology. Grading will be based on participation in class discussions (20%), two midterm exams (20 % each), one final take-home exam (20%), and a 10-page research proposal to be presented to the class in late April (20%). SOILS 512 will support interdisciplinary training of graduate students in Soil Science as well as in other disciplines of the College of Agricultural Sciences, especially Plant Pathology, Horticulture, Entomology, and Agricultural and Biological Engineering. Graduate students in the Intercollege Graduate Degree Program in Ecology (IGDPE), College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, Eberly College of Science, and College of Engineering also will find this course useful when undertaking research on systems involving microorganisms (e.g., biogeochemistry, plant or animal systems, or environmental engineering). Course will be offered every other spring semester with an anticipated enrollment of 20 students per class.
Prerequisite: two years of chemistry and B M B401 , A B E308 , or equivalent
SOILS 513: Soil Environmental Chemistry
Soil Environmental Chemistry
Chemical constituents and processes occurring in soils. Discussion of soil components, reactions at the solid-solution interface, and soil chemical processes.
Field trip to study the genesis, classification, and geomorphology of the major soils of the northeastern United States.
Prerequisite: SOILS416 or 6 credits in geology or physical geography
SOILS 519: Nature of Soil Minerals
Nature of Soil Minerals
Constituent minerals of soils: modern methods for identification; relations to soil formation and agricultural practices.
SOILS 536: Topics in Biogeochemistry
2 Credits/Maximum of 999
Topics in Biogeochemistry
2 Credits/Maximum of 999
This seminar addresses chemical interactions between the biosphere and the physical environment over Earth's history and as impacted by humans. This course will provide a broad survey of biogeochemical principles, and offer a community-building experience for students with biogeochemical interests from diverse departments. Students will complete the course with a synthetic knowledge of the key topics in the field of biogeochemistry. Each week we will focus on a topic within the broad field of biogeochemistry such as: origins of the elements, reactions in the atmosphere, soil development, the distribution of redox reactions and microbial metabolic pathways, and the global cycles of carbon, water, nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur, mercury, and perhaps other elements. For each topic, we will focus on the questions: What is known or can be observed? How is this information used to understand biogeochemical phenomena and process? How are these processes scaled over time and space? What are emerging and important questions in the subspecialties of biogeochemistry?
Ecological theory and applications related to water, carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, and cation cycling in managed and unmanaged terrestrial ecosystems. SOILS 571 Ecosystem Nutrient Cycles (3)This course is designed to benefit basic and applied environmental scientists that want to understand how nutrients cycle in terrestrial ecosystems. Students will develop knowledge of the biologically important nutrient cycles in terrestrial ecosystems, including linkages between nutrient cycling and energy (carbon) and water flow. The material covers the major theoretical advances in ecosystem ecology and applications of ecosystem theory to environmental management and problem solving. The water, carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, and nutrient cation cycles will be covered. For each nutrient, inputs, outputs and internal cycling in plants and soils are discussed. Class time will include a mixture of lectures, discussions of primary literature and case studies, and group projects. Each student will write a paper on a topic related to their research that will be reviewed by student peers. Field and laboratory experiences will expose students to methods used by ecosystem ecologists. Students will complete the class with an understanding of: (1) classic and contemporary theories of nutrient cycling at the ecosystem scale, 2) variability in nutrient cycling among the major unmanaged and managed ecosystem types, 3) ecosystem responses to natural disturbance and human management, and 4) common and cutting-edge methods of ecosystem analysis.
SOILS 590: Colloquium
1-3 Credits/Maximum of 3
1-3 Credits/Maximum of 3
Continuing seminars which consist of a series of individual lectures by faculty, students, or outside speakers.