Biosphere Environmental studies 1

LecturerTakeshi OHTA, Professor, Ayumi KOTANI, Assistant Professor
DepartmentSchool of Agricultural Sciences / Graduate School of Bioagricultural Sciences, 2011 Fall
Recommended for:School of Agricultural Sciences 2nd year students (21.5 hours / session One session / week 15 weeks / semester)

Course Overview

Our course aims are to understand the water cycle and energy cycle of the biosphere and to evaluate the influences of vegetation on these cycles.


The biosphere and the surrounding environment mutually influence one another. Therefore, the current biosphere is formed as a result of the long mutual interaction of the biosphere and surrounding environment. The main objectives of this course are to understand the fundamentals of the earth's environment where the biosphere exists and to understand the mutual interactions between biosphere and surrounding environment by studying the water cycle and energy cycle. We will focus not only on the physical aspects but also the biological and ecological aspects of these cycles.

In addition, the water cycle and energy cycle are deeply related to material cycles such as the carbon cycle. Therefore, this course is deeply related to the fundamental contents of Biosphere Environmental studies ll.

Course Schedule

The contents of this course are shown below. The order given does not necessarily correspond to the order of the lectures.

Session Contents
Part I: Fundamentals
1 Fundamental process of the water cycle (Ohta)
2 Forests and the water cycle (Ohta)
3 Theory of evapotranspiration and its application (Ohta): Turbulent flow, energy transportation and matter transportation
4 Theory of evapotranspiration and its application (Ohta): Influence of vegetation and assessment of that influence
5 Water movement in soils (Ohta): Soil runoff
6 Water movement in soils (Ohta): Movement of saturated and unsaturated water
7 Snow fall, snow cover and snow melting in mountainous districts (Ohta)
Part II: Application
1 The water cycle and energy cycle of the forest in a variety of climate zones (Ohta): Boreal forest and tropical rain forest
2 The water cycle and energy cycle of various soils (Kotani) : Comparison of these two cycles in forests, paddy fields, grass fields and cities, etc
3 Evaluation of the water cycle and energy cycle in soil with mixed land cover (Kotani)

Lecture Handouts

Note: All files are in Japanese.

Lecture Notes


Students will be evaluated based on attendance, reports and examinations. Assignments will sometimes be given during the lecture.

Last updated

November 20, 2015