The Soil Science and Geomorphology group is part of the Faculty of Science. The chairholder, Prof. Dr. Thomas Scholten, together with Dr. Thorsten Behrens and Dr. Peter Kühn started their work in Tübingen in October 2005 at the "Old Children's Hospital" (Rümelinstraße 19-23). The main challenge to cope with during the first years was to set up the laboratory of soil science and geoecology and to run the computer pool for GIS and Data Mining approaches in Soil Science and Geomorphology.
Key issue of the soil science group is a process-based understanding of soil formation and landscape development and how these processes are influenced by natural and human factors. Our research activities focus on soil-landscape modelling, digital soil mapping and soil erosion. We use macro- to micro-environmental analyses of soils and sediments to quantify soil and site properties at different temporal and spatial scales. Our vision is to integrate results from field observations, laboratory and modeling to gain a better understanding of the processes and mechanisms that affect our soils and their interrelationship with global change.
We have a unique and rich methodological ensemble for research and teaching in Soil Science, Geoecology and Geomorphology. Our lab methods range from standard procedures of soil analysis to C sequestration and palaeopedological approaches using geochemical and micromorphological techniques. Our toolbox in digital soil mapping comprehends the very latest pedometrical methodologies and data mining techniques like artificial neural networks, vector quantization, feature selection and geostatistical techniques. Interdisciplinary research and teaching is well established between soil scientists, geographers, ecologists, geologists and archaeologists. Similarly, a strong cooperative research approach is followed as shown by the work within the collaborative research centre SFB299 of the German Research Foundation (DFG), the BEF China research unit on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in subtropical forests (DFG), the iSOIL project on integrating soil science, digital soil mapping and geophysics (EU FP7) and the YANGTZE project of the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).