SOIL&WAT 3016WT - Soil Ecology and Nutrient Cycling III
Waite Campus - Semester 1 - 2024
General Course Information
Course Code SOIL&WAT 3016WT Course Soil Ecology and Nutrient Cycling III Coordinating Unit Agricultural Science Term Semester 1 Level Undergraduate Location/s Waite Campus Units 3 Contact Up to 6 hours per week Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y Assumed Knowledge SOIL&WAT 2500 or SOIL&WAT 2500WT Course Description The course will provide students with a comprehensive view of ecological interactions in soils. It covers the interactions between plants, soil and soil organisms, the roles played by soil organisms in decomposition of organic material, nutrient cycling (C, N, P) and stability of agricultural and natural ecosystems. Other topics include the importance of soil organisms for soil fertility, mycorrhizas and their effects on plant productivity and plant communities, microbial ecology, root growth and the biology of the rhizosphere.
Course Coordinator: Professor Petra Marschner
The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.
Course Learning Outcomes
1 Participants in this course will be given an awareness of the importance of nutrient cycling in agricultural and natural ecosystems, the factors affecting nutrient availability and how management will affect nutrient cycling 2 Students will acquire practical knowledge about common analyses methods to assess nutrient cycling including microbial activity and N and P availability in soils 3 Students will be able to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources for an in-depth and critical discussion of papers discussed during the tutorials, their practical reports and a discussion paper in the field of nutrient cycling in a planned and timely manner 4 Students will demonstrate the ability to communicate in written form 5 Acquire awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues related to nutrient cycling in Australia and within a global context
University Graduate Attributes
This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:
University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth
Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.
Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving
Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.
Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills
Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.
Attribute 4: Professionalism and leadership readiness
Graduates engage in professional behaviour and have the potential to be entrepreneurial and take leadership roles in their chosen occupations or careers and communities.
2, 3, 4
Attribute 5: Intercultural and ethical competency
Graduates are responsible and effective global citizens whose personal values and practices are consistent with their roles as responsible members of society.
2, 3, 4, 5
Attribute 7: Digital capabilities
Graduates are well prepared for living, learning and working in a digital society.
Attribute 8: Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
Graduates are self-aware and reflective; they are flexible and resilient and have the capacity to accept and give constructive feedback; they act with integrity and take responsibility for their actions.
1, 2, 3
Required ResourcesThe course manual and papers for the tutorials will be available on MyUni.
Lecture notes will be uploaded on MyUni prior to the lectures
For appropriate citations and referencing see Cargill and Belotti 1996 Written Communication Skills, Language and Learning Service, University of Adelaide (available on MyUni)
Online LearningFor writing the reports and research proposal use of the following resources for searching for
keywords, titles, journals and scientific papers
The Adelaide University library catalogue
Web of Knowledge http://isiknowledge.com/ccc
Note that websites should only be referred to occasionally (less than 10% of citations). Websites
are not peer reviewed and may contain incorrect information.
LINK to TURNITIN http://www.turnitin.com
LINK to Plagiarism website http://www.adelaide.edu.au/clpd/plagiarism/
Learning & Teaching Activities
Learning & Teaching ModesWeek 1
C cycle lecture, set up seed bank experiment
No lecture, tutorial, set up incubation experiment
N cycle lecture, tutorial, first sampling incubation experiment
No lecture, tutorial, second sampling incubation experiment
P cycle lecture, tutoiral, field trip wetland
no lecture, Exam 1
Roots lecutre, tutorial, NH4 analysis incubation experiment
Rhizosphere lecture, tutorial, available P analysis incubation experiment
Mycorrhiza lecutre, tutorial
no lecutre, tutorial, native grass field trip
Mirobial ecology lecutre, tutorial
The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.
A student enrolled in a 3 unit course, such as this, should expect to spend, on average 12 hours per week on the studies required. This includes both the formal contact time required to the course (e.g., lectures and practicals), as well as non-contact time (e.g., reading and revision).
Learning Activities Summary
week lecture topic 1 C cycle 2 C + N cycle 3 N cycle 4 P cycle 5 P cycle 6 Exam 1 7 Trace element cycle 8 Roots 9 Rhizosphere 10 Mycorrhiza 11 Microbial Ecology 12 Exam 2
Specific Course RequirementsAttendance of practicals is compulsory.
The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:
- Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
- Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
- Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
- Assessment must maintain academic standards.
Assessment task Task Type Weighting Hurdle
Yes or No
Learning outcome Practical reports
1, 3, 4, 5
No 1, 2, 4, 5
Assessment Related Requirements
Attendance of practicals is compulsory.
To pass this course you must achieve a final scaled mark of at least 50% and a minimum of 40% in the exam.
Discussion paper (25%)
Students will learn how to research a topic, read appropriate references, define knowledge gaps and outline research that will address the knowledge gap, the latter will develop their problem-solving skills.
Practical Reports (50%)
There are 3 practical reports covering 7 practical classes. They will be assessed promptly to provide continual feedback to students and a sense of progressive accomplishment in the course. Students will receive written feedback on each of practical reports submitted for assessment.
There will be two exams in this course delivered as online quizzes), each covering approximately half of the course content. Two weeks before each exam, the students will be given a list of potential questions. The exam will consist of a subset of the potential exam questions. Each exam is 12.5% of the total mark.
SubmissionThe reports and the research proposal must be submitted by 5 pm of the final date for submission to Petra Marschner as hard copy (Prescott Building, Room 307) or by email.
The first report must be accompanied by a signed cover sheet available from the course website. The following reports do not have to have a cover sheet
Assignments must be submitted by their deadline. The course coordinator will not to accept any assignment that a student wants to submit after the assignments for the rest of the class have been marked and feedback provided. Extensions of deadlines may be allowed for reasonable causes. Such situations would include compassionate and medical grounds of the severity that would justify the awarding of a supplementary examination. Evidence for the grounds must be provided when an extension is requested. Extensions of deadlines should be negotiated with the course coordinator (Petra Marschner) before the assignment is due. Extensions will not be provided on the grounds of poor prioritising of time.
Marked assignments will be returned within 1-2 weeks after submission.
Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:
M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme) Grade Mark Description FNS Fail No Submission F 1-49 Fail P 50-64 Pass C 65-74 Credit D 75-84 Distinction HD 85-100 High Distinction CN Continuing NFE No Formal Examination RP Result Pending
Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.
Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.
Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.
The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.
SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.
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