This unit will familiarise students with the description and mapping of soil types in the Australian landscape, with common analytical methods for soil and with the various forms of degradation that may alter the quality and function of soil. It is an applied soil science unit that builds on the fundamental soil science concepts learned in the SOIL2003/SOIL2005 unit. The first practical component of the unit, a six-day soil survey, will give students experience in soil description and classification in the field, and soil samples collected during this survey will be subsequently analysed for a variety of attributes by the students in laboratory practicals. In the lecture series, topics including soil security, soil fertility and soil degradation will be discussed and linked to practical sessions. By the end of this unit, students will be able to construct maps of soil properties and soil type distribution, describe primary soil functions, soil attributes and types of soil degradation in an agricultural context, and be able to recognize and communicate the ability of a soil profile to sustain plant growth. Students will gain research and inquiry skills by collecting, analysing and interpreting soil survey data, and will gain communication skills by having to prepare and present a poster.
Two 1-hour lectures and one 2-hour practical per week, 6-day fieldtrip in the week immediately preceding the start of Semester 2 (Week 0)
Fieldtrip participation (5%), soil survey mapping report (35%), laboratory report and poster presentation (20%), group tutorials (15%), viva voce exam (25%)