Semester Course:  3rd 
Credits: 6 ECTS
Lecturers: Prof. Cristina Moscatelli
Web Site:

  1. Objectives:
    The student will understand the importance of the use of different bioindicators such as microbial biomass (size, structure, genetic and functional diversity), microbial respiration, soil enzymes to monitor soil quality. Laboratory practical classes are also scheduled
  2. Programme topics:
    Soil is presented as a living, vital system; a dynamic entity of terrestrial ecosystems playing a central role in the balance of natural environments.
    The main indicators of soil quality are introduced. In particular the course is focused on soil bioindicators as early warning of stress conditions.
    The class lectures will be focused on the following group of topics:

    1. - Indicators of soil quality and health
    2. - Soil organic matter (SOM)
    3. - Soil microbial biomass
    4. - Soil biological activity
    5. - Soil enzymes
    6. - Drivers of global soils change
    7. - How to plan a monitoring activity: choosing the right set of indicators, new indicators, experimental design.
  3. Assessment:
    Course requirements include laboratory exercises, class presentation and a final oral examination. Evaluation criteria: knowledge of course contents, ability to integrate and critically discuss course contents, skill in planning a monitoring activity starting from a case study, level of clarity in exposition.