751-5127-00L  The Microbiome of the Plant-Soil System: Part I

SemesterSpring Semester 2020
LecturersM. Hartmann
Periodicityyearly recurring course
Language of instructionEnglish


AbstractThis class conveys the current knowledge and state-of-the-art methods for studying the plant-soil microbiome through a combination of theoretical input lectures, selected case studies from ongoing research projects, and flipped classroom assignments.
ObjectiveAfter the course, the participants will be able to
(1) explain how microorganisms influence and respond to changes in the plant-soil system
(2) evaluate the strengths and limitations of specific methods used in microbial ecology research
(3) critically assess current research findings in this field
ContentThe plant-soil microbiome is an essential component of agroecosystems, regulating crop growth, nutrient use efficiency, stress resilience, and disease resistance. In this course, students will develop a fundamental understanding of (i) how microorganisms shape the functioning of the plant-soil system, (ii) how ecosystem management and global changes are influencing diversity and functioning of these microbial systems, and (iii) how the microbiome might be managed to improve sustainable agricultural production. A strong focus will be placed on getting to know the methodological toolbox to study microbes in the environment including different next-generation DNA sequencing applications such as metabarcoding and metagenomics. Theoretical input lectures will be combined with presentations of current research projects. Flipped classroom assignments will be used to critically discuss research findings of specific publications or to evaluate the strength and limitation of the specific methods.
LiteratureMadigan MT, Bender KS, Buckley DH, Sattley WM and Stahl DA (2019). Brock Biology of Microorganisms, 15th edition, Pearson Education Limited.
Paul E (2014). Soil Microbiology, Ecology and Biochemistry, 4th edition, Academic Press.
Prerequisites / NoticeThe participants should have some basic background in biology and a keen interested in learning and discussing how microorganisms shape the functioning of our planet. Whereas this course unit can be taken as standalone class, it also serves as preparatory class for the hands-on block course on microbiome analysis (The Microbiome of the Plant-Soil System: Part II).