Terrestrial Ecology Section

The Terrestrial Ecology Section has expertise in studying the interactions between organisms, key processes they control, and their influence on the environment. We are conducting research within soil biology, plant ecology, fungal ecology, biogeochemistry, and plant-microbe interactions. Together, we reveal how organisms control the cycling of natural and anthropogenic compounds in ecosystems, and how environmental changes, including climate change, impact ecosystems.

 

 

 

The overall aim of the section is to broaden our understanding of the interactions between organisms, ecosystems, and the environment, and to evaluate the effects of human activities, such as warming and permafrost-thaw, or habitat fragmentation and pollution, as well as the measures taken by society to mitigate these effects.

Our main research approach is experimental and focuses on ecosystem processes and the interactions between organisms and ecosystem components, as well as the biodiversity and functioning of soil organisms and plants and associated microbes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our work relies on state-of-the-art field and laboratory infrastructure. We can quantify the elemental and isotopic composition of soil, biological tissues, and gas samples, as well as specific organic compounds. We are also equipped with advanced microscopes and growth chambers, with controlled temperature and illumination, and tools for molecular biological work, such as DNA/RNA extraction and PCR, though sequencing is performed externally.

We carry out high-precision biological, physical, chemical, and molecular analyses of plants, microorganisms, soil animals, gases, and liquids. The laboratory is fully updated with analytical equipment and takes on analytical tasks for the scientific staff at the Biological Institute, as well as for external researchers. For instance, we analyze:

Species composition
Plant biomass
CNP in soil, plants and liquids
Secondary metabolites
15N and 13C in tissues
Photosynthesis with Licor 6400XT
CO2, O2, N2O and CH4 concentrations
Volatile organic compounds
Microbial biomass CNP
SIR
Ergosterol, PLFA, Biolog
Protein assays
Cultivation of microorganisms (bacteria, fungi and protozoa) Isolation and experimentation with soil micro-meso-macro fauna
DNA extraction from tissues and soil
PCR, qPCR
DNA sequencing
Electrophoresis of DNA and proteins
Microscopes: Stereo, normal light, fluorescent, inverse

The analytical equipment includes

Hitachi U-2000 and U-2010 Spectrophotometers
Shimadzu Total Organic Carbon Analyzer TOC-5000A
Perkin Elmer 4100 Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer
Shimadzu GC-17A Gas Chromatograph
Fiastar 5000 Flow Analyzer
LECO TruSpec Carbon Nitrogen Determinator
LECO FP-428 Total Nitrogen Determinator
Eltra CS 500 Total Carbon Determinator
Aquatec 5400 Analyzer
EuroVector Elemental Analyzer EA3028-HT
Micromass IsoPrime Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometre
Agilent GC/MS with thermal desorption
Growth rooms and chambers, -80 freezer
Tissue ball mils and Qiagen Tissue Lyzer
MJ PCT200, BioRad T100 and BioRad CFX connect PCR machines
Ionicon PTR-ToF-MS
Agilent GC with FID

 

 

 

 

 

 

The section teaches in courses (highlighted) offered at Bachelor program in Biology and Master program in Biology, especially in the Ecology specialisation. In addition, the teachers contribute to some courses in Master program in Climate Change.

(AM) Anders Michelsen - (FE) Flemming Ekelund - (KR) Kathrin Rousk - (RK) Rasmus Kjøller - (RR) Riikka Rinnan

Block 

Courses in MSc Programme in Biology

1

Advanced Ecology

1

Danish Natural Habitats (FE)

2

Climate Change & Biogeochemical Cycles (RR)

2

Methodology and Sampling in Environmental Management (AM)

2

Soil Biology (FE)

3

Experimental Design and Statistical Methods in Biology (AM)

3

Fungal Biology (RK)

4

Arctic Biology

4

Terrestrial Ecosystem Processes and Global Change (AM)

4

Arctic Field Course (held only even years)


Block 

Courses in Bachelor Programme in Biology

1

Organismernes Diversitet

1

Biologiske Forsøg: Design og analyse (AM)

2

Populationsbiologi

3

Almen Økologi

3

Planters Økofysiologi (KR)

3

Basal Arktisk Biologi

5

Feltbiologi II Botanik (FE)

Contact

Terrestrial Ecology Section
Universitetsparken 15
DK-2100 Copenhagen Ø, Denmark

SECTION HEAD
Professor Riikka Rinnan
Email: riikkar@bio.ku.dk
Mobile: +45 5182 7039