CO2 and Heavy Metal Research in the Field and in the Lab

Field Courses: 11th – 15th June, Sienna, Italy; 25th – 29th June 2018, Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany + e-learning in June (part time)


Get a closer look at heavy metal pollution from ancient and recent mining, learn about natural CO2 springs and recent CO2 research.

Course objectives
  • understand residues and pollution prevention from HM mining
  • understand adaptation of vegetation to heavy metals
  • acquire knowledge on CO2 enrichment research
  • problem solving in mixed skills student groups
  • intensive e-learning for integrated distance co-operation in international groups
  • video-conferences – video reports
  • 31 January 2018: deadline for application
  • 28 February 2018: deadline for payment of fee
  • 31 March 2018: final list of students and waiting list ready and published
  • 16 April 2018: e-learning platform openILIAS ready to use
  • 23 April 2018: videoconference with information, presentations and discussions
  • 4 June 2018: official start of the summerschool and e-learning
  • 11 – 15 June 2018: field work in Tuscany
  • 25 – 29 June 2018: field work at Hohenheim
  • 29 June 2018: end of the summerschool

Rising concentrations of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) and the associated climatic change are global problems that will persist on the medium to long term despite the recent international agreements. Life support functions and ecosystem services will be affected in multiple ways, including carbon, water and matter cycles, crop productivity, biodiversity and forest stability. At the same time environmental pollution from anthropogenic activities will affect the quality of life of a growing number of people. In the summer school, we will address plant responses to elevated CO2 and the effects of heavy metal enrichment.

In the first week, which is going to take place in and around Siena, we will have a closer look at natural CO2 springs and the heavy metal pollution at former mining sites. Excursions will be performed to the Colline Metallifere and the Amiata Mountain (Tuscany), regions with high geogenic levels of heavy metals and a high number of geothermal fields, which lead to gaseous releases of CO2, mercury and sulfuric compounds. We will perform field investigations and address the specific vegetation adapted to these compounds. We will also use plants as biomonitors for heavy metals involving the collection of plant samples in the field. Chemical analyses will be performed in Hohenheim.

In the second part of the summer school, which is going to take place in Germany, students will be introduced to technologies used for CO2 enrichment and climate simulation and methods to investigate ecophysiological effects on plant performance. Students will assist in ongoing research in climate chamber studies and the free air carbon dioxide enrichment (FACE) facility operated in Hohenheim. They will also evaluate the data that had been gathered in Italy during the first week.


7,5 ECTS




Deadline for application:  31st of January 2018

Informal application to:

  • The summer school is open for 20 students
  • The summer school is acknowledged as a Master-Module at Hohenheim (#3202-450)

Student payment

500 €

Contact and Coordination

University of Hohenheim, Germany
Andreas Fangmeier

Phone +49 711 45922189

Università di Siena, Italy
Fabrizio Monaci

Phone +39 0577232872