1 - COURSE OBJECTIVES The aim of the course is to present the soil as a proper ecosystem, and to make students capable of understanding and predicting, in principle: i) the behaviour and fate of natural and xenobiotic compounds in soils upon intentional or accidental additions; ii) the possible effects of these compounds on soil ecosystems; iii) the possible resilience of soils upon such events. With the aim of achieving this target, the information will be provided on soil abiotic and biotic components, the relative physical, chemical and biochemical properties, and the mutual interactions and relationships. Interactions between soil and plants will also be illustrated. Information will also be supplied on the monitoring of soil ecosystems in both natural conditions and upon perturbation.
2 - LEARNING OUTCOMES
KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING Knowledge of the various components of natural soils and the interactions between these components. Knowledge of the physical, chemical and physicochemical principles causing the natural and anthropic compounds (e.g. contaminants) to interact with the diverse components of soils, once they have been added to it. Knowledge of the possible approaches and monitoring systems (traditional vs advanced) of both natural and perturbed soils.
ABILITY TO USE KNOWLEDGE AND COMPREHENSION Capacity of identifying the main drivers of natural and perturbed soils, and of integrating and applying in specific contexts the information assimilated in the course: i) of such ecosystems, to understand the possible dynamics herein already present and ongoing; ii) of the monitoring systems, to assess the presence of perturbations and dynamics in such ecosystems.
MAKING JUDGEMENT To be able to interpret results obtained by observations and measurements (monitoring) to evaluate the extent of soil perturbation of and possible actions to make.
COMMUNICATION SKILLS The capacity of communicating appropriately (i.e. precisely and with proper terminology) the assimilated information, concepts, dynamics and processes possibly present in soil ecosystems and described in the course. The capacity of expressing the concepts synthetically, but providing details when requested. The capacity of catching the main features characterising natural and perturbed soils.
LEARNING SKILLS The capacity of assimilating the requested knowledge by using the various materials provided in the course, but mainly of expressing curiosity in understanding the causes of events occurring in perturbed soils, relative to the natural ones. The capacity of having an open mind to other standpoints and opinions, discussing them critically, without prejudices, and calling themselves into question.
SECTION 1 - INTRODUCTION TO THE COURSE - About the course - Program outlines and operative info
- Anthropic contexts - Land uses - Pressures in urban areas
SECTION 2 - SOIL HEALTH AND QUALITY - Soil health, soil quality and resilience: Definitions and differences
SECTION 3 - SOIL PERTURBATIONS AND GENERAL INFO ON POLLUTION - Pollution vs natural environments - Sources, nature and types of soil contamination/pollution and its classification - The case of urban areas - Classification of contaminants/pollutants (nature, toxicity, physical state, chemistry) - Properties of contaminants/pollutants
SECTION 4 - SOIL ECOSYSTEM COMPOSITION AND FEATURES - Soil: definitions, functions and importance - Soil formation: factors and processes - Soil composition and organisation - Solid inorganic fractions and components: - Description and properties of solid inorganic components - Minerals (silicates and non-silicates) - Origin and formation of the inorganic fraction components - Rock cycle, weathering and genesis - Influences from external factors and effects on soil features and processes (pollution and remediation)
SECTION 5 - SOIL-WATER RELATIONSHIPS - Chemistry and properties of water - Importance of water on the Earth, the hydrologic cycle, water distribution and uses - Forces generating and controlling water dynamics in soil - Types of water movements in soil (interception, infiltration, percolation, leakage, capillary rising and evaporation) - Water uptake by plants, soil water balance (evapotranspiration), groundwater - Soil water content; concepts, types and measurements; managements - Influences from external factors and effects on soil features and processes (pollution and remediation)
SECTION 6 - SOIL-AIR RELATIONSHIPS - Importance of air on the Earth - Forces generating and controlling air dynamics in soil - Influences from external factors and effects on soil features - Wetlands - and processes (pollution and remediation) - Soil volatiles (VOCs)
SECTION 7 - Solid organic fraction (SOM) and components - Importance of SOM on the Earth, the C cycle, SOM distribution and uses - Description and properties of solid organic components - Origin and formation of the organic fraction components - Fresh OM degradation, transformation and interaction with the mineral components (persistence) - Influences from external factors, functions and effects on soil features (pollution and remediation)
SECTION 8 - SOIL BIOTA, the soil living fraction - Organisation and distribution of living organisms on the Earth - Ecosystems, biomes and biodiversity - Importance of soil biota on the Earth and soil as a proper ecosystem - Description, distribution, classification and functions of soil organisms - Soil animals and microorganisms - Soil-plant-microorganism relationships - The rhizosphere - Influences from external factors and effects on soil features and functions (pollution and remediation)
SECTION 9 - SOIL PROPERTIES - Physical - Colour, texture, density, porosity, permeability, structure - Physicochemical - Charges on colloids - Sorption: physisorption, ion chemisorption and ion physicochemical adsorption - The Double layer and the Ion exchange (Cation and Anion Exchange Capacity) - Chemical - Acidity and alkalinity, pH, buffer capacity - Biological and Biochemical - Enzymes - Influences from external factors and effects on soil features and functions (nutrition, pollution and remediation)
SECTION 10 - INTERACTIONS AND FATE OF POLLUTANTS WITH SOIL - Inorganic pollutants in soil, interactions, processes(adsorption/fixation, absorption, solubilisation, mobility, leaching) and persistence - Organic pollutants in soil, interactions, processes (partitioning, adsorption/fixation, absorption, solubilisation, mobility, volatilisation, degradation, leaching) and persistence
SECTION 11 - Monitoring soil pollution and remediation - Soil sampling - Monitoring soil quality (indicators) - Monitoring soil pollutants (metals, organics) - Traditional approaches in soil monitoring (traditional analyses) - Smart approaches in soil monitoring - sensors, probes and (hybrid) sensing systems
• E.A. Paul (2015). Soil microbiology, ecology, and biochemistry (4th Edition). Academic Press. • I.L. Pepper, C.P. Gerba, M.L. Brusseau (2006). Environmental and Pollution Science (2nd Edition). Academic Press. • N.C. Brady, R.R. Weil (2010). Elements of the nature and properties of soils. Pearson. / Alternatively: N.C. Brady, R.R. Weil (2016). The nature and properties of soils (Global Edition). Pearson.
Dates of beginning and end of teaching activities
From 30/09/2019 to 17/01/2020
Objectives of the course
Università degli Studi della Tuscia - Rettorato, Via S.M. in Gradi n.4, 01100 Viterbo, ITALY - Tel. 0761.3571