HUMUS sapiens Vilnius5.jpg

Lecturer: Julian Chollet
Credits: 6 ECTS, 4 SWS
Dates: 04.11. – 08.11.2019 (10:00 – 17:00)
Every day from 10-12 'open science breakfast' - OPEN for EVERYONE (Room 204)

Venue: Marienstraße 7b, DIY BioLab (Room 202)

THIS IS THE WIKI FOR THE COURSE IN WSWintersemester - winter semester 2019

open science breakfast

bring your friends, coffee, food,… who will bring hummus?


Our air, soil and water as well as all plants and animals contain complex ecosystems.

This course will introduce you to various creatures colonizing the ground beneath our feet and give you the opportunity to experience methodologies and experimental strategies that are used in the natural sciences. While working in the DIY BioLab (Chair of Media Environments) you will learn how to think like a microbiologist and what it means to do scientific research. Educational objectives include literature research, experiment design, result documentation, discussion and scientific writing.

The module will be structured in a flexible way, tailored to the needs of the participants and includes lectures as well as practical work in the laboratory. Attendance during the 5 days of the course, as well as the delivery of detailed project documentation (paper, artwork, etc.) until the end of the semester is required.

The 5 day intensive course is integrated into the wider concept of the project module Soil-Humus-Earth (Prof. Ursula Damm) as well as the module Raised Beds and Pets (Mindaugas Gapsevicius).


Guest lecturers

Mindaugas Gapševičius will support us on 04. and 05.11. He will offer an introduction to the world of nematodes. In addition, the students learn the basic cultivation techniques and the handling of C. elegans in the laboratory.

Stefan Doepner will support us on 6 and 7.11. as a guest lecturer. He is involved in the following projects, among others:


  • ...


What is life? / What is humus?

Which different types of organisms live in the soil?

How is soil life interacting / what is the soil food web?

Which methods are suitable to learn more about soil microbes?

Basic concepts


"It is difficult to define humus precisely because it is a very complex substance which is not fully understood."

In soil science, humus (derived in 1790–1800 from the Latin humus for earth, ground[1]) denominates the fraction of soil organic matter that is amorphous and without the "cellular cake structure characteristic of plants, micro-organisms or animals".[2] Humus significantly affects the bulk density of soil and contributes to its retention of moisture and nutrients.

In agriculture, "humus" sometimes also is used to describe mature or natural compost extracted from a woodland or other spontaneous source for use as a soil conditioner.[3] It is also used to describe a topsoil horizon that contains organic matter (humus type,[4] humus form,[5] humus profile).[6]

Humus is the dark organic matter that forms in soil when dead plant and animal matter decays. Humus has many nutrients that improve the health of soil, nitrogen being the most important. The ratio of carbon to nitrogen (C:N) of humus is 10:1.


"There are over a 100 definitions for 'life' and all are wrong"
Since there is no unequivocal definition of life, most current definitions in biology are descriptive. Life is considered a characteristic of something that preserves, furthers or reinforces its existence in the given environment. This characteristic exhibits all or most of the following traits:

   Response to stimuli


In biology, an organism (from Greek: ὀργανισμός, organismos) is any individual entity that exhibits the properties of life. It is a synonym for "life form".


Living beings that are too small to be seen with the (human) eye.

The possible existence of unseen microbial life was suspected from ancient times, such as in Jain scriptures from 6th century BC India and the 1st century BC book On Agriculture by Marcus Terentius Varro. Microbiology, the scientific study of microorganisms, began with their observation under the microscope in the 1670s by Antonie van Leeuwenhoek.

Soil microorganisms

"Microbes can make nutrients and minerals in the soil available to plants, produce hormones that spur growth, stimulate the plant immune system and trigger or dampen stress responses. In general a more diverse soil microbiome results in fewer plant diseases and higher yield."


Related Projects from the DIY Biolab @Bauhaus

please add projects!! :)