Structure & Location

The course is composed of two main elements:

  • lectures and
  • research projects.


Lectures communicate the state-of-the-art in methodology, instrumentation, theory and applications of stable isotopes (see Lecture Module descriptions). That is

Methods: Methods of sampling, preparation, isotope analyses and interpretation will be discussed with a strong emphasis on experimental/empirical studies which are carried out by the participants during the course.

Instrumentation: We will discuss all mass spectrometric, preparation and labelling systems available for the stable isotope researcher.

Theory: Theory behind mathematical models of isotope fractionation, physical phenomena (e.g. isotope effects), fractionation of 13C, 15N and 18O in biological systems (e.g. photosynthetic mechanisms), 18O and 2H enrichment due to evaporation. Calculations using stable isotope data.

Applications: Stable isotope techniques as a tool to study processes on cellular levels to ecosystem and regional scales. Labelling techniques with 13C and 15N in plant studies. And stable isotopes as an ecological tracer.

Research projects

Half of the course is devoted to research projects by small student groups, which are led by a teacher. Projects deal with original research in grassland sience (see Project Module description).

Research projects will also have practical training contents, including

  • ‘how to write a research paper’
  • ‘how to prepare and give an oral communication’,
  • literature searching tools and strategies,
  • journal/paper clubs.

Certificate and ECTS credit points

A certificate of 5 ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) points is passed to successful participants.

Course location

The course is held in Freising (Germany) and Budweis (Czech Republic) from 1 to 7 April 2019