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300359 SE+UE Stable Isotopes in Ecology (2020W)

Stable Isotope Tracing

5.00 ECTS (3.00 SWS), SPL 30 - Biologie
Continuous assessment of course work


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first serve).


max. 12 participants
Language: English



First preparatory meeting October 1st, 2020, 13:00, ÜR6, UZA1
Blocked course November 2-6, 2020


Aims, contents and method of the course

The goal of this practical class is to introduce students into application of stable isotope techniques in ecology, microbial, plant and animal sciences. We will demonstrate the use of stable isotopes as tracers in metabolic studies and ecosystem flux measurements.

Assessment and permitted materials

Continuous assessment of course work. Oral presentation of a scientific paper on stable isotope applications in the seminar. Quality of laboratory experiments and written final report.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

Upon successful completion of this course students will be able to analyze, evaluate and interpret stable isotope ratios of ecological materials. They understand the concept of source partitioning and isotope discrimination and thereby the basic mechanisms of how the stable isotopic composition of organisms and ecosystem compartments are controlled. Successful students will know how natural abundance stable isotopes and enriched isotopes can be used as tracers and integrators of metabolic and ecological processes such as carbon and nitrogen cycling of ecosystems, soil-vegetation-atmosphere exchange, and trophic relationships in food webs and how stable isotopes can be used in microbial, plant and animal ecophysiology.

Examination topics

Stable isotopes of carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen and oxygen will be analysed at natural abundance levels and in labelling experiments by a range of techniques, including isotope ratio mass spectrometry and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry.

Reading list

Will be made available via Moodle platform.

Association in the course directory


Last modified: Tu 29.09.2020 14:30