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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Postgraduate Courses (School of GeoSciences)

Postgraduate Course: Soil Science Concepts and Application (PGGE11180)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryA soil scientist requires the ability to collect and interpret information on soil physics, biology and chemistry to allow soil preservation and maintenance of soil health. As such, the Soil Science Concepts and Applications module will provide students with a theoretical insight into soil science by looking at the biological, chemical and physical methods of analysis available to scientists, consultants and land managers. This theoretical delivery will be supported by both laboratory and field based practical┐s that allow the students to gain hands on experience in a range of methods, analysis and interpretation.
Course description The course would be delivered over 10 teaching periods. A provisional outline of which is as follows:
1. Introduction to soil
a. Heterogeneity and the interaction of the biotic and abiotic
b. Complexity of the physics, chemistry and biology
c. Soil classification systems and the major soil orders of the world
d. The future of soil science
2. Soil sampling
a. Strategies and feasibility
b. Qualitative and quantitative determinations
c. Methods of recovery
d. Storage of materials and consideration of analysis
3. Soil biology
a. Diversity, abundance and potential indicators
b. Benefitials, pathogens and indicators
c. Methods
i.classical taxonomy
ii.Molecular approaches

4. Soil Biology (Lab Class)
a. Recovery of fungi/nematodes and incorporating classical fungal/nematode id from keys
b. DNA extraction and analytical equipment
5. Soil Chemistry
a. Mechanism of analysis
b. Importance of storage, time and analysis in soil science
c. Methods of analysis for N, P and C determination
6. Soil Chemistry (Lab Class)
a. Preparation of salts for soil extraction
b. Preparation of acids for soil analysis (theoretical)
c. Extraction, purification and analysis of soils for nitrate/nitrite and phosphorous
7. Soil Physics
a. Soil physical characterisation
b. Methods of soil physical characterisation
8. Soil Physics (Lab Class)
a. Hand texturing
b. Soil moisture content
c. Bulk density
9. Soil Modelling
a. Carbon Footprint
b. Nutrient budgets
c. Farmscope
10. Reporting soil science
a. Sources of information
b. Minimal requirements
c. Interpretation of results
d. The role of advisors/consultants

Teaching staff from within SRUC will deliver the majority of the course content, however, in some areas there is expertise in aspects of soil science within Geosciences at the University of Edinburgh, the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, the James Hutton Institute and with several local consultants that may be utilised to provide collaborative expert support.

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2019/20, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  30
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 30, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 166 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) The course would be assessed from four small pieces of work and one large scientific report in the style of a journal article. These would comprise of a hand in assessment completed during and at the end of each of the laboratory class (15 % of total award each) and the submission of a 3000 word scientific report (40% of total award).

Coursework would be marked according to University┐s common assessment scheme as outlined in the PGTR and in accordance with the School of Geosciences guidelines. Provisional marks and feedback would be provided to the students on each assessed unit of work using the current feedback forms within the time limits requested by the School.

Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Have the ability to collect, analyse, interpret and evaluate information on soil biological quality.
  2. Have the ability to collect, analyse, interpret and evaluate information on soil physical quality.
  3. Have the ability to collect, analyse, interpret and evaluate information on soil chemical quality.
  4. Gain an understanding of soil modelling and model design to assess soil behaviour.
  5. Have the ability to compile information into a scientific journal article.
Reading List
Brady, N.C., and Weil, R.R. 2008. The Nature and Properties of Soil. Revised 14th Edition. Pearson Education Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ, USA
Soil Sampling, Preparation, and Analysis, Second Edition: 108 (Books in Soils, Plants, and the Environment) [Hardcover], Kim H. Tan (Author) ISBN-13: 978-0849334993.
Robertson GP, Coleman DC, Bledsoe CS, Sollins P, editors. Standard soil methods for long-term ecological research. New York: Oxford University Press; 1999. pp. 258┐271.
Soil Ecology by Ken Killham (1994), ISBN 0 521 43521 8, Cambridge University Press
Environmental Soil Chemistry, 2nd Edition, Author : D Sparks, Release Date: 04 Jan 2003. Imprint: Academic Press. ISBN: 9780126564464 (In Edinburgh Library)
Smith, K.A. and Mullins, C.E. 2001. Soil and environmental analysis: physical methods. Second edition. Marcel Dekker, NY. 637 pp (In SRUC Library)

Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Keywordssoil biology,soil classificiation
Course organiserDr Madeleine Bell
Tel: (0131) 535 4214
Course secretaryMrs Elspeth Martin
Tel: 0131 535 4198
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