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It is increasingly appreciated that aquatic ecosystems modulate carbon and nitrogen export to downstream ecosystems through biogeochemical transformations, including those that contribute to nitrous oxide, methane, and carbon dioxide fluxes. For example, it is estimated that about 40% of the terrestrial carbon is evaded as CO2 in aquatic ecosystems, globally. The microbial processes that control these fluxes are spatially and temporally variable and depend on hydrological residence time, redox processes, and carbon and nutrient availability. We must be able to measure and integrate these processes into models in order to fully account for greenhouse gas fluxes and hydrological exports at catchment scales as a basis for the development and testing of climate mitigation and adaptation strategies.
This course will provide PhD students the opportunity to learn about conducting biogeochemical measurements along the terrestrial-aquatic ecosystem continuum and to explore ways in which these measurements can and cannot be used to scale up to catchment-scale. Students will engage in hands-on field, laboratory, and computer activities along with classroom lectures. Lectures will focus on theoretical understanding using case-studies from high altitude or high latitude ecosystems as examples when possible. Students will work in groups to design, implement mini research projects. Planned field excursions include visits to experimental sites in the region, including the TERENO sites operated by IMK-IFU and Lake Constance. There will also be opportunity for discussions about professional development with lecturers and plenty of time to socialize.
By the end of the course, participants will be able to explain the fundamental processes controlling fluxes of carbon and nitrogen to aquatic ecosystems and the factors that control these fluxes. Further, participants will have gained hands-on experience with aspects of sampling design, laboratory bioassay experiments, and the application of field and laboratory measurements to hydro-biogeochemical models.