Syllabus query

Academic Year/course: 2017/18

25208 - Soil science

Syllabus Information

Academic Year:
25208 - Soil science
Faculty / School:
201 - Escuela Politécnica Superior
277 - Degree in Environmental Sciences
571 - Degree in Environmental Sciences
Second Four-month period
Subject Type:
Basic Education

1.2. Recommendations to take this course

This subject is offered in the English Friendly form

5.1. Methodological overview

The preferred methodology in the theoretical and practical classes will be affirmative, combining an expositive and a demonstrative method. The expositive method, which is characterized by the communication of concepts, will be used when students do not have prior knowledge that allow participatory debate, or in the case of concepts or relationships requiring a formal precision. The demonstrative method is marked by demonstrating a task or a procedure, and will be used in practice tasks.


For the students, it is recommended as learning methods the interrogative method, by asking the teacher or trying to find answers to his questions, and the active method, becoming the agent of his own formation through personal research, direct contact with reality and experience with the working group in which he is incorporated.

5.2. Learning tasks

1. Theoretical sessions. Expositive and participatory lectures that will be followed by exercises and discussion topics.


2. Seminars and laboratory practices. Demonstrative and interrogative activities essentially aimed to dominate laboratory and field procedures.


3. Field task. Field work carried out during the second half of the course, and focused to the consolidation and expansion of concepts.


4. Non contact activities. Study and application of the topics covered by the schedule, preparation of practices’ reports, conduct of a group work, preparation of exams...

5.3. Syllabus

Theory programme


Block 1. Introduction

  1. The concept of soil. Soil description: observed and inferred attributes. Soil morphology: genetic and diagnostic horizons. Methods for macromorphologic studies.


Block 2. Soil components

  1. Mineral components. Soil minerals and their derived attributes.
  2. Soil organic matter. The carbon cycle. Soil organic matter and fertility. Humus types in forest soils. Soil biomass.
  3. Soil water and atmosphere. Water holding capacity. Water infiltration and redox processes.


Block 3. Soil formation

  1. Soil forming factors: lithology, climate, relief, organisms and time. Soil-landscape relationships. Chronsequences and toposequences in Aragón.
  2. Soil forming processes. Physical, chemical and biological weathering. Transformation and translocation. Additions and losses.


Block 4. Soil attributes and environmental quality

  1. Physical attributes: structural stability, porosity, texture, plasticity, extensibility, etc. Impact on soil management.
  2. Chemical attributes: pH, base saturation, main nutrients, organic matter, chelates, etc. Impact on soil management.
  3. Biological properties: respiration, microbial biomass, qCO2, enzyme activities. Indicators of environmental quality.
  4. Soil quality facing degradation processes. Autodepuration and recuperation. Case studies in Aragón.


Practice tasks programme


  1. Field work. Description of soil forming factors and landscape.
  2. Field work. Soil sampling strategies. Profile sampling. Surface sampling. Undisturbed samples.
  3. Lab work. Sampling conditioning prior to analysis. Drying, sieving and shredding.
  4. Lab work. Soil salinity. Qualitative assessment of carbonates, sulphates and chloride.
  5. Lab work. Soil pH and carbonate measurement.
  6. Lab work. Particle size and texture.
  7. Lab work. Soil organic matter and Munsell color.
  8. Computer lab work. Soil classification by WRB.
  9. Computer lab work. Showing and discussing analytical and morphological data.
  10. Field trip. Soils of Aragón.

5.4. Course planning and calendar

It is estimated that an average student should devote to this subject, 6 ECTS, a total of 150 hours. This time must include both classroom and non-attendance activities. The student must ensure that the dedication is distributed evenly throughout the quarter.


The basic pattern for classroom and laboratory activities is composed by four weekly hours. Nevertheless, this pattern should be modified by non school days, field trips or by other academic activities. These changes will be announced in classroom and also through the moodle e-learning campus.


Type of activity / Week 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 Total
5-11 feb 12-18 feb 19-25 feb 26 feb-4mar 5-11 mar 12-18 mar 19-25 mar 26 mar-1 abr 2-8 abr 9-15abr 16-22 abr* 23-29 abr 30abr-6 may 7-13 may 14-20 may 21-27 may 28 may-3 jun 4-10 jun 11-17 jun 18-24 jun 25 jun-1 jul
Comienzo 2º sem 7 (mie)             Festivo UZ 28 mar(mie)  Vac SS Comienzo 29 mar (jue) Fin vac SS 8 abr (dom)     Festivo 23 (lun) No lectivo 30 abr (lun) (Festivo 1 (mar)       Fin periodo clases: 30 may (mie) Comienzo exam 1 jun (vie)       Fin exam 29 jun (vie)
Onsite activity                                           60
Theory 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 1   2 2 1 1 2 2 2 2         28
Problem-solving activities     2 2     1                             5
Laboratory practice   2     2 2 1     2 2     2 2             15
Group working                                           0
Field trip                       5                   5
Face-to-face tutorial                               2           2
Assessment                               1     4     5
Off-site activities                                           90
Individual working 5 4 4 3 4 4 4 7 8 4 4 2 5 4 4 3 6 8 4     87
Group working       1                 2                 3
TOTAL 6 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8     150

5.5. Bibliography and recommended resources

BB Brady, Nyle C.. Elements of the nature and properties of soils / Nyle C. Brady, Ray R. Weil . 3rd ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ : Prentice Hall, cop. 2010
BB Brady, Nyle C.. The Nature and properties of soils / Nyle C. Brady, Ray R. Weil . - Rev. 14th ed. Upper Saddle River, N.J. : Pearson/Prentice Hall, cop. 2008
BB Porta Casanellas, Jaime. Agenda de campo de suelos : información de suelos para la agricultura y el medio ambiente / Jaume Porta Casanellas, Marta López-Acevedo Reguerín . Madrid : Mundi-Prensa, 2005
BB Porta Casanellas, Jaime. Edafología para la agricultura y el medio ambiente / Jaime Porta Casanellas, Marta López-Acevedo Reguerín, Carlos Roquero de Laburu . - 3ª ed., rev. y amp. Madrid [etc.] : Mundi-Prensa, 2003
BC Aubert, Georges. La edafología : el suelo en el que vivimos / Georges Aubert, Jean Boulaine . Barcelona : Orbis, D.L.1986
BC Breemen, Nico van.. Soil formation / by Nico van Breemen and Peter Buurman. . 2nd ed. Dordrecht ; London : Kluwer Academic, cop. 2002
BC Buckman, Harry O.. Naturaleza y propiedades de los suelos : texto de edafología para enseñanza / Harry O. Buckman y Nyle c. Brady ; traduccido por R. Salord Barceló ; texto revisado por José Mª Vives de Quadras . Barcelona [etc.] : UTEHA, D.L. 1965
BC Cobertera Laguna, Eugenio. Edafología aplicada : Suelos, producción agraria, planificación territorial e impactos ambientales / Eugenio Cobertera Laguna . Madrid : Cátedra, 1993
BC Dingus, Del. Introductory soil science : laboratory manual / Del Dingus . Upper Saddle River : Prentice Hall, cop. 1999
BC Duchaufour, Philippe. Atlas ecológico de los suelos del mundo / por Philippe Duchaufour ; con la colaboración de Pierre Faivre, Michel Gury ; versión castellana de Ma. Tarsy Carballas Fernández. Barcelona : Toray-Masson, 1977
BC Duchaufour, Philippe. Edafología. Vol.1, Edafogénesis y clasificación / por Philippe Duchaufour; versión española de los doctores Mª Tarsy Carballas Fernández y Modesto Carballas Fernández . Barcelona : Masson, 1984
BC Duchaufour, Philippe. Manual de edafología / por Philippe Duchaufour ; versión española de los doctores Ma. Tarsy Carballas Fernández y Modesto Carballas Fernández . Barcelona [etc.] : Masson, 1987
BC Ferreras Chasco, Casildo. Biogeografía y edafogeografía / C. Ferreras Chasco, C. Fidalgo Hijano . [3ª reimp.] Madrid : Sintesis, D.L. 1991 (reimp. 2009)
BC FitzPatrick, E. A.. Suelos : su formación, clasificación y distribución / E.A. FitzPatrick ; [traducido por Antonio Marino Ambrosio] . - [1a. ed., 3a. reimp.] México : Compañía Editorial Continental, 1987
BC Kohnke , H., Franzmeier, D.P. (1995). Soil science simplified. Waveland Press
BC Kononova, M. M.. Materia orgánica del suelo : su naturaleza, propiedades y métodos de investigación / M. M. Kononova ; [traduccion castellana de Enriqueta Bordas de Muntan] . Barcelona : Oikos-Tau, D.L. 1981
BC Kubiëna, Walter L.. Claves sistemáticas de suelos : diagnóstico y sistemática ilustrados de los suelos más importantes de Europa con sus sinónimos más usuales / por W. L. Kubiëna ; traducido al español por Ángel Hoyos de Castro . Madrid : Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 1952
BC López Ritas, Julio. El diagnóstico de suelos y plantas : (métodos de campo y laboratorio) / por Julio López Ritas y Julio López Melida. - 4ª ed., rev. y amp. Madrid : Mundi-Prensa, 1990
BC Palmer, Robert G.. Introductory soil science : laboratory manual / Robert G. Palmer, Frederick R. Troeh . 3rd ed. New York [etc.] : Oxford University Press, 1995
BC Pedraza Gilsanz, Javier de. Geomorfología : principios, métodos y aplicaciones / Javier de Pedraza Gilsanz ; colaboradores Rosa María Carrasco González...[et al.] . Alcorcón, Madrid : Rueda, D.L. 1996
BC Porta Casanellas, Jaime. Introducción a la edafología : uso y protección del suelo / Jaume Porta Casanellas, Marta López-Acevedo Reguerín, Rosa M. Poch Claret . Madrid, [etc.] : Mundi-Prensa, 2008
BC Robinson, Gilbert Wooding. Los suelos : su origen, constitución y clasificación, introducción a la edafología / Gilbert Wooding Robinson ; traducción de la tercera edición inglesa por José Luis Amorós . 2ª ed. Barcelona : Omega, 1967
BC Soil genesis and classification / S.W. Buol ... [et al.] . 5th. ed. Ames, Iowa : Iowa State Press, 2003
BC Tan, Kim H.. Environmental soil science / Kim H. Tan . 3th. ed. Boca Raton : CRC press, cop. 2009
BC Tan, Kim H.. Principles of soil chemistry / Kim H. Tan . 3rd ed., rev. and expanded. New York [etc.] : Marcel Dekker, cop. 1998
  Clave para las Unidades de suelos de la FAO (1974) 
  Fotografías de perfiles de suelos 
  International Union of Soil Sciences 
  Magdoff, F., Van Es, H. (2009): Building soils for better crops sustainable soil management. Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) 
  Página de la USDA para usar y aprender su taxonomía (inglés) 
  Páginas de la Universidad de Granada con conceptos muy claros y sencillos y buenas fotos que los ejemplifican y aclaran 
  Reeuwijk, L.P. (2002). Procedures for soil analysis. International Soil Reference and Information Centre 
  Schoeneberger, P.J., Wysocki, D.A., Benham, E.C., Broderson, W.D. (1998). Libro de campaña para descripción y muestreo de suelos (Field book for describing and sampling soils). Centro Nacional de Relevamiento de Suelos, Servicio de Conservación de Recursos Naturales, Departamento de Agricultura de los EE.UU. 
  Se explican e ilustran suelos difíciles de encontrar en nuestro entorno 
  Sociedad Española de la Ciencia del Suelo 
  World Soil Information 


The updated recommended bibliography can be consulted in: