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Terrestrial Ecosystems and Climate Change : Theory and Experimentation

2023/2024 planning to come.

Master in Life Sciences, ENS
BIO_M2_PG-TECC | Terrestrial Ecosystems and Climate Change : Theory & Experimentation
Year and Semester : M2 | S1
Where & Hours : Full time, in residence at CEREEP-Ecotron
Duration : 1 week, 30 hours
First and last day of class : 2023/2024 planning to come.
Maximum class size : 15 students


Samuel Abiven, Laboratoire de Géologie CEREEP-Ecotron, CNRS, ENS




Terrestrial ecosytems | Experimentation | Biogeochemical cycles | Global change

Course Prerequisites

Basic notions of community and ecosystem ecology.

Course objectives and description

Aims & Themes : Natural and anthropized terrestrial ecosystems are strongly affected by global change drivers like nitrogen deposition, biodiversity loss or land use change. These drivers modify biochemical cycles, at small to global scales. To better understand and predict these changes, it is possible to experiment and model the interactions between these drivers feedbacks and the soil-plant systems.
We propose to work during a full week on these questions linking terrestrial ecosystems and global changes. We will combine lectures and practical works. After a reminder about terrestrial biosphere functioning, we will focus on a series of global changes : nitrogen deposition, water mass balance and related events like drought, temperature increase, atmospheric CO2 concentration increase, natural fires, plant biodiversity decrease, among others. Part of these theoretical classes will be presenting the technical approaches we will be using in the practical part, as well as the modeling of these global changes on biogeochemical cycles.
In the same time, we will lead a series of experiments on small ecosystems (plant + soil), which were grown under some of these global change drivers. We will particularly study the carbon cycle (isotopic labelling experiment, mass balance calculation, soil respiration), the water cycle, (time series data analysis, mass balance), nutrient cycles (mineral nitrogen), biodiversity dynamics, soil properties (aggregates stability, chemical and biological quality of soils).
Organisation : This module will take place during one week in November at the CEREEP-Ecotron Ile de France, at Saint-Pierre-les-Nemours. The students will be able to stay at the station for the week and all the lectures and experimental work will take place on site. Cost of transportation and lodging will be covered by PSL Graduate Program Earth and Biodiversity – Science with Society.


At the end of the week, the students will present their main findings, this presentation being the evaluation for the module.

Course material

Readings and slides will be made available to enrolled students.

Suggested readings in relation with the module content

Books :
R.R. Weil and N.C. Brady. 2017. The Nature and Properties of Soils. 15 th Ed. Pearson/Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ. 1086 p. ISBN-13 : 978-0-13-325448-8.
Fry, B. (2006). Stable Isotope Ecology. Springer, New York, NY.
Articles :
Schmidt, M.W.I., Torn, M.S., Abiven, S. et al. 2011. Persistence of soil organic matter as an ecosystem property. Nature 478, 49–56.
Bardgett, R.D., 2011. The Root of the Problem. The Scientist 1–7.
Studer, M.S., Siegwolf, R.T.W., Abiven, S. 2014. Carbon transfer, partitioning and residence time in the plant-soil system : a comparison of two 13CO2 labelling techniques. Biogeosciences 11, 1637–1648.
Steffen W et al. 2015. Planetary boundaries : guiding human development on a changing planet. Science 347(6223):1259855
Ciais, P. et al. 2005. Europe-wide reduction in primary productivity caused by the heat and drought in 2003. Nature 437, 529–533.