Soil Biology (PPAT4005)


This unit investigates the diversity of organisms living in the soil, their biology, interactions and ecology, and their roles in maintaining and improving soil function. The unit is an elective for BScAgr, BHortSc and BSc students. It builds on the material introduced in MICR2024, PPAT3003 and BIOL3017. Undertaking this unit will develop skills in monitoring soil microbes, designing, conducting and analysing experiments. At the completion of this unit, students will be able to exercise problem-solving skills (developed through practical experiments, projects and tutorial discussions), think critically, and organise knowledge (from consideration of the lecture material and preparation of project reports), and expand from theoretical principles to practical explanations (through observing and reporting on project work). Students will consolidate their teamworking skills, develop self-directed study skills and plan effective work schedules, use statistical analysis in research, keep appropriate records of laboratory research, work safely in a research laboratory and operate a range of scientific equipment. Students will gain research and inquiry skills through group research projects, information literacy and communication skills through assessment tasks and personal and intellectual autonomy through working in groups.

Our courses that offer this unit of study

Further unit of study information


(2 tut, 3 hrs prac)/wk


Tutorial papers (30%), project proposal (10%), project report (50%), peer review (10%).


Sylvia et al. 2005. Principles and Applications of Soil Microbiology 2nd ed. Pearson. Schjonning PJ. 2001. Managing Soil Quality. CAB International.

Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules

Prerequisites and assumed knowledge

MICR2024 or 6cp intermediate microbiology

Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Find a non-award course for this unit of study

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.

Find a cross-institutional course for this unit of study