ENVIRON 430 - Soil Ecology
Fall 2021, Section 001
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: Program in the Environment (ENVIRON)
Department: SNE Program in the Environment
See additional student enrollment and course instructor information to guide you in your decision making.


Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
Advisory Prerequisites:
BIOLOGY 162 or 171 and 172 and 173, and General Chemistry. Concurrent enrollment in ENVIRON 436/EEB 436 and ENVIRON 435/EAS 435 highly recommended.
Other Course Info:
This course counts toward the 60 credits of math/science required for a Bachelor of Science degree.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:
Start/End Date:
Full Term 8/30/21 - 12/10/21 (see other Sections below)
NOTE: Drop/Add deadlines are dependent on the class meeting dates and will differ for full term versus partial term offerings.
For information on drop/add deadlines, see the Office of the Registrar and search Registration Deadlines.


Soils as central components of terrestrial ecosystems. Major emphasis is placed on physical, chemical, and biological properties and their relationships to plant growth and ecosystem processes. Understanding is developed using a combination of lectures, field- and laboratory-based exercises, and individual research. The function of soils in forested ecosystems is the primary focus; however, examples are drawn from a wide range of terrestrial ecosystems.

This course centers on the overlap of soil science, forest ecology, and ecosystem ecology. Our goal is to understand:

  1. how the interactions of landform, topography, climate, and biota over time lead to the patterns of soil development and the distribution of soil types that we observe within the landscape;
  2. how physical, chemical, and biological properties of forest soils affect water and nutrient availability to plants and, ultimately, ecosystem productivity; and
  3. how nutrients are cycled within forest ecosystems and how these processes are influenced by land management practices.

In the field portion of the course, we will sample and describe soils of four forest ecosystems and observe first-hand how differences in landform, topography, climate, and biota influence soil development. In the laboratory we will analyze our soil samples for a number of physical, chemical, and biological properties. Using these data in conjunction with field data, each student will select two of the four ecosystems for detailed comparison in a term paper. Although we will focus our attention on local forest ecosystems of Michigan, skills learned in this course may be broadly applied within a variety of terrestrial ecosystem types in other geographic regions.

Course Requirements:

No data submitted

Intended Audience:

Prerequisites: Students are expected to have a background in chemistry and biology. In particular, a working knowledge of chemical equilibria, ionic solution chemistry, pH, and oxidation-reduction reactions is highly recommended. Students without such background should consult with the instructor before enrolling. Also useful (although not required) is familiarity with biochemistry, plant physiology, microbiology, geology, and local flora. You will find it very helpful if you have had, or are currently enrolled in, Woody Plants (ENVIRON 337).

The lectures and laboratory exercises in Soil Properties and Processes have been designed to complement Forest Ecology (ENVIRON 435), and we highly recommend that you enroll in these courses concurrently!

Class Format:

Learning Mode: All class meetings will be taught synchronously and In-Person for the Fall 2021 term.

Instruction Mode: The Lection section (001) meets synchronously twice a week in person. The Lab sections (002 and 003) will meet synchronously once a week in person.


ENVIRON 430 - Soil Ecology
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 In Person
MW 10:00AM - 11:00AM
8/30/21 - 12/10/21
002 (LAB)
 In Person
M 1:00PM - 5:00PM
8/30/21 - 12/10/21
003 (LAB)
 In Person
Tu 1:00PM - 5:00PM
8/30/21 - 12/10/21

Textbooks/Other Materials

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Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

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CourseProfile (Atlas)

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