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Unit description

Examines the main soil forming processes and the role of both organic matter and clay minerals in soil processes and properties explored. Field soil assessment and classification skills are developed and methods for the examination of soil invertebrates introduced. The main concepts and methods used to assess soil physical and chemical properties are introduced, as is the use of soil moisture characteristics for the prediction of water movement. The behaviour of soil nutrients is examined. This unit includes a Masters tutorial component in which students critically analyse the unit topics at an advanced level.

Unit content

The unit will cover the following topics (not necessarily in the order presented) which will be dealt with in the topic notes, readings, laboratory notes and in the field:

  • soil and its constituents
  • soil physical properties: texture, structure
  • soil water
  • soil organic matter
  • soil and clay mineralogy
  • soil and plant nutrition: nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, sulphur and trace elements
  • soil formation
  • soil classification
  • soil biology.

Learning outcomes

Unit Learning Outcomes express learning achievement in terms of what a student should know, understand and be able to do on completion of a unit. These outcomes are aligned with the graduate attributes. The unit learning outcomes and graduate attributes are also the basis of evaluating prior learning.

On completion of this unit, students should be able to:
1describe the main soil forming processes
2describe the role of organic matter and clay minerals in soil processes and properties
3discuss the role of the major soil nutrients in plant nutrition and outline the main plant nutrient cycles
4assess soil structure, texture and consistence in the field sufficient to enable soil classification
5demonstrate soil surveying technique
6discuss the use of soil classification systems in general and understand the features of a range of soil classification systems as well as classify soils according to two major Australian soil classification systems with interpretation of their limitations
7describe some important soil chemical and physical processes and properties and discuss their implications for management.

On completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. describe the main soil forming processes
  2. describe the role of organic matter and clay minerals in soil processes and properties
  3. discuss the role of the major soil nutrients in plant nutrition and outline the main plant nutrient cycles
  4. assess soil structure, texture and consistence in the field sufficient to enable soil classification
  5. demonstrate soil surveying technique
  6. discuss the use of soil classification systems in general and understand the features of a range of soil classification systems as well as classify soils according to two major Australian soil classification systems with interpretation of their limitations
  7. describe some important soil chemical and physical processes and properties and discuss their implications for management.

Teaching and assessment

Notice

Intensive offerings may or may not be scheduled in every teaching period. Please refer to the timetable for further details.

Southern Cross University employs different teaching methods within units to provide students with the flexibility to choose the mode of learning that best suits them. SCU academics strive to use the latest approaches and, as a result, the learning modes and materials may change. The most current information regarding a unit will be provided to enrolled students at the beginning of the teaching period.

Fee information

Domestic

Commonwealth Supported courses
For information regarding Student Contribution Amounts please visit the Student Contribution Amounts.

Fee paying courses
For postgraduate or undergraduate full fee paying courses please check Domestic Postgraduate Fees OR Domestic Undergraduate Fees

International

Please check the international course and fee list to determine the relevant fees.

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