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Unit of study_

SOIL2005: Soil and Water: Earth's Life Support Systems

Soil and water are the two most essential natural resources on the Earth's surface which influence all forms of terrestrial life. This unit of study is designed to introduce students to the fundamental properties and processes of soil and water that affect food security and sustain ecosystems. These properties and processes are part of the grounding principles that underpin crop and animal production, nutrient and water cycling, and environmental sustainability. You will participate in a field excursion to examine soils in a landscape to develop knowledge and understanding of soil properties, water storage, water movement and cycling of organic carbon and nutrients in relation to food production and ecosystem functioning. At the end of this unit you will be able to articulate and quantify the factors and processes that determine the composition and behaviour of soil, composition of water, soil water storage and the movement of water on the land surface. You will also be able to describe the most important properties of soil and water for food production and sustaining ecosystem functions and link this to human and climatic factors. The field excursion, report and laboratory/computer exercises have been designed to develop communication, team work and collaborative efforts.

Code SOIL2005
Academic unit Life and Environmental Sciences Academic Operations
Credit points 6
SOIL2003 or LWSC2002

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. explain how the properties and processes of soil are important for food security and ecosystem functioning
  • LO2. explain water processes and functions in relation to food security and ecosystem functioning
  • LO3. identify and explain the importance of soil processes in the cycling of nutrients and carbon
  • LO4. identify and explain the relevance of hydrological processes in the cycling of plant essential and non-essential elements
  • LO5. have developed sampling and analytical (field and lab) skills to analyse and interpret chemical, physical and microbial soil information
  • LO6. have developed sampling and analytical (field and lab) skills to analyse and evaluate water quality parameters
  • LO7. synthesise and assess soil and water data for agricultural and environmental applications
  • LO8. communicate (oral and written) soil science and hydrology concepts and knowledge effectively to specialist and non-specialist audiences using appropriate oral, written and visual means.