U.S.-China Ecopartnership for Environmental Sustainability - USCEES

Ecopartnership Short Course: The Dynamics of Soil Organic Matter

May 8 - May 13 @ - School of the Environment-Beijing Normal University

Short Course at the School of the Environment-Beijing Normal University May 8-May 13 2012

The Dynamics of Soil Organic Matter

Professors Timothy Filley and Greg Michalski

US-China Ecopartnership for Environmental Sustainability and the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Purdue University, USA

This one-week course will emphasize the mechanisms of stabilization and destabilization of soil organic matter. Examples from specific ecosystems are used to teach how plant chemistry, input rate, microbial community, soil mineralogy, soil texture, and local environment interact to control soil organic matter dynamics. We will also discuss specific biogeochemical methods to assess organic matter input type, decay mechanisms, and dynamics. the course will involve both morning and afternoon sessions.

General Lecture Topics Covered Include

  • The organic chemistry of life - plant and microbial biopolymers.
  • Short primer on stable isotope fractionation, analysis, and application.
  • The organic chemistry of soil organic matter and its decay.
  • Short primer on soil mineral properties and importance in soil organic matter stabilization.
  • Soil organic matter stabilization mechanisms.
  • Black carbon formation and reactivity.
  • Disturbance to soil organic matter - ecosystem engineers, ecosystem shifts, climate change.
  • Applications of stable carbon and nitrogen isotope modeling for source and turnover calculations.

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