News & Activities

1st Young Scientist Workshop in Trier

From 5th to 7th of December 2022 the first workshop for the young scientist in SPP2322 SoilSystems took place at University of Trier. It opened with a discussion round among the participants in which they gave updates on their project progress during their first PhD year, identified overarching challenges for the SPP and formed ideas on how to strengthen collaboration and communication with each other. The afternoon continued with a first introduction in the programming language R given by Dr. Mario Gilcher from Luxsense Geodata SARL who made sure that everyone could follow the course despite of very different experience levels to begin with. The day ended with a guided tour through the old town of Trier, which is considered to be the oldest city in Germany.

On the second day the young scientists continued their R training and were taught on key challenges using R such as data handling and different visualization options as well as applying basic statistic tests and testing their prerequisites. During the lessons, the participants could directly apply their new knowledge and in the last part of the course, they had the opportunity to independently test their skills working with a data set kindly provided by one of them. The workshop was also used to refresh the young scientists knowledge on Good Scientific Practice and they learned about the rights and duties in their scientific career highlighted with practical examples given by the presenter for this slot, Dr. Alexandra Krämer from the University of Bonn. During this, they also learned about the best practices for keeping a lab journal, their legal obligations regarding documentation and how to approach common challenges for lab journaling. The second day ended with a social evening at von Nell’s winery in the suburbs of Trier, where participants had the opportunity to see the winemaking process and taste locally brewed wine.

Many thanks again to Mario and Alexandra for sharing the knowledge on these important topics. Thanks also to Sören Thiele Bruhn, Denise Vonhoegen and Ubaida Yousaf who were the hosts of this workshop.

1st Summer school in Leipzig – „Methods on microbial substrate turnover”

After the first annual meeting in May, 15 participants came together again in Leipzig for the 1st summer school of the SPP SoilSystems (October 17-19) under the motto “Methods on microbial substrate turnover”.

The summer school opened with an introductory session for participants on how to use mass balances and thermodynamics in their projects. In the afternoon, Anja Miltner (UFZ Leipzig) gave a lecture on the background and basics of calculating isotope mass balances followed by an exercise session on that topic. The day ended with a common dinner in the Ratskeller. The second day opened with an online presentation on microbial ecology by Damien Finn and Christoph C. Tebbe (Thünen Institut für Biodiversität, Braunschweig). They provided an excellent overview of molecular methods and next-gen sequencing techniques that can be used to study microbial substrate turnover. Thomas Maskow (UFZ Leipzig) then gave two lectures as well as practical exercises (incl. thermodynamic calculations) on thermodynamics of compound transformation and calorimetric approaches. Finally, the day ended with an introductory lecture on the MTB – Microbial turnover to biomass – model by Stefan Trapp (Technical University of Denmark, Kongens Lyngby). The summer school ended on the third day with exercises on the MTB model and discussion rounds.

Many thanks to the lecturers Anja Miltner, Thomas Maskow, Matthias Kästner, Damien Finn, Christoph C. Tebbe and especially Stefan Trapp, who made the long journey from Denmark.

1st Annual Meeting in Leipzig

After our virtual kickoff-meeting (25th November 2021) we were very happy to came together in Leipzig for the first time in physical presence since the start of the SPP 2322 SoilSystems. The 1st annual meeting took place in the Leipziger KUBUS from 18th to 20th May 2022 and was hosted by colleagues from the UFZ (Department of Environmental Biotechnology & Department of Environmental Microbiology).

The meeting was opened with a joint presentation by the panel group, where general issues, a short scientific outline as well as a possible experimental approach of the SPP was presented. This was of special interest for the new Ph.D. students and colleagues, who did not attend the previous virtual meetings. Welcome to the SPP SoilSystems! A keynote was given by Matthias Kästner (UFZ Leipzig) afterwards with the title: How to estimate the theoretical energy release of a turnover reaction in soil? – an introduction into a dark area. At the poster and coffee session in the afternoon, all young scientists presented their projects and came in touch with all other SPP members. A scientific committee evaluated the posters and announced the winners of the first SPP SoilSystems poster prize:

  1. Martin Endress (University of Cologne) – P15: C-timing
  2. Marc Piecha (University of Greifswald) – P9: MYXED-UP & Guodong Shao (University of Tuebingen) – P14: EcoEnergeticS

Congratulation to the awardees!

On the second and third day of the meeting, the focus was on two different workshops. Thomas Maskow (UFZ Leipzig) and his group gave a hands-on workshop on calorespirometry including a theoretical background into soil thermodynamics, sample preparation, experimentation and data evaluation. Anja Miltner (UFZ Leipzig) introduced the SoilSystems community into mass balances using isotopes. Many thanks to Thomas, Anja and colleagues for giving these exciting workshops.

The first come together at the 1st annual meeting was also used to elect an Ombudsperson of the SPP as well as a Representative for the Young Scientist. Tessa Camenzind (Freie Universität Berlin) is the Ombudsperson from now on, while Alina Rupp (UFZ Leipzig) represents the Young Scientists in cooperation with Ubaida Yousaf (University of Trier). Congratulations and many thanks for volunteering.