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Application of stable isotope techniques to study bio-geochemical processes in terrestrial ecosystems
Provider: Faculty of Science

Activity no.: 9999-18-05-33There are no available seats 
Enrollment deadline: 12-09-2018
PlaceDepartment of Geoscience and Natural Resource Management
Date and time29.10.2018, at: 09:00 - 02.11.2018, at: 16:00
Regular seats24
ECTS credits4,00
Contact personPer Lennart Ambus    E-mail address: peam@ign.ku.dk
Enrolment Handling/Course OrganiserPer Lennart Ambus    E-mail address: peam@ign.ku.dk

Aim and content

The course has the objective to introduce the principles and use of stable isotopic systems as tracers of geochemical and biological processes with a focus on natural terrestrial ecosystems with main focus on Arctic.

Lectures will briefly touch on terminology, notations and standards in stable isotope work, theory of isotopic equilibrium and fractionation, and analytical features. Practical examples on isotopic applications will be demonstrated by senior teachers, in relation to relevant scientific questions and challenges addressing the interactions between global change and earth systems (greenhouse gases; carbon and nitrogen in soils; hydrological cycles). Relevant processes to be studied include (the exact content will partly reflect the interest of course participants): Photosynthesis and carbon sequestration. Nutrient mobilization and uptake by roots. Soil organic matter, litter turnover and mineralization processes. Nitrogen fixation. Gaseous losses of nitrogen and methane

Teaching methods: Lectures Theoretical exercises Hands-on laboratory exercises Reading and presentation of scientific papers. Prepare and present orally own work whether preliminary or in progress

Learning outcome: Upon completion of the course, the candidate will have achieved knowledge on
• understanding of and hands-on experience with stable isotope analytical techniques (mass spectrometry; infrared laser spectroscopy).
• basic understanding about abundance and characteristics of elements that undergo isotopic fractionation (kinetic effects; equilibrium effects; fractionation factors).
• good understanding of selection of stable isotope methodological approaches, e.g. tracers vs. natural abundance. Use of proper isotopic reference materials
• in-depth, research-level understanding of one or more stable isotopic systems (interaction with the physical and chemical environment, and human activity). obtained skills to
• critically evaluate demands and prerequisites for accurate isotopic analysis in various sample materials
• evaluate quality and needs for sample preparation, treatment and storage prior to analysis • assess and process raw isotope data from IRMS and laser-based analysis
• apply and solve algebraic equations involving isotopic mixing and fractionation and competences that will enable the candidate to
• conduct their own research using stable isotope applications in soil-plant-air continuum (H, C, N, O, S).
• identify which scientific problems and environmental questions can be solved with stable isotopes
• read and understand scientific literature on stable isotopic systems, and critically analyze and evaluate current research

Literature: Selected readings from text books and scientific publications

Evaluation: Each candidate provides a written report in the form of a scientific proposal describing a hypothetical project with the scientific area taught at the course. The report is reviewed by the internal teachers providing a brief, written feedback and graded as passed/no passed.

Venue: Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, University of Copenhagen, Øster Voldgade 10, 1350 Cph K, DK.


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