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Past workshops hosted and supported by MOLTER 

SOM-5: 5th International Workshop on Soil and Sedimentary Organic Matter Stabilization and Destabilization. 7 -11 October 2012

100 participants gathered in Monte Verità, Ascona, Lago Maggiore, Switzerland for the SOM-5 workshop,  the last MOLTER event for the ESF-funded programme. 

The workshop employed a bottom-up approach of scientists trying to identify the mechanisms of stabilization and destabilization mechanisms of organic matter in soil and sediments. This is one of a series of typically small workshops which previously took place in: Hohenkammer, Germany (2003), Asilomar, USA (2005)Adelaide, Australia (2007)Giens, France (2010)Ascona, Switzerland (2012), and tentatively the US east coast (2014), organized by Alain Plante (Univ. Penn) and colleagues.


MOLTER chair Daniel Rasse (far right) with poster prize winner from SOM-5 workshop

Also, we would like to clarify and avoid confusion with the "SOM conferences" series. The SOM conferences are similar in name and overlap in scientific scope, but typically are larger in number of participants and tend to focus more on agro-ecosystems. The SOM conference series started in Poitier, France (2007), and was followed by Colorado, USA (2009), Leuven, Belgium (2011), and tentatively will be organized in Nanjing China in 2013 by Genxing Pan (Nanjing Agricultural Univ., China) and colleagues.

The meeting continued the poster- and discussion-focused workshop style of the 2005 meeting with a few oral presentations and mostly time for posters and breakout groups. The format allowed plenty of time for discussions during the plenary sessions and breakout groups at the posters, as well as informally. The chairs invited two younger scientists with new, controversial results and views to form a “provocateur” team to lead the discussions. Afternoons were reserved for special events (field trip, free time, working groups). Evenings would start with a Frontiers Talk and followed by poster sessions with snacks and drinks and open-ended discussion time.


One of the highlights of the workshop was the launching of the MOLTER database is an online computational platform specifically designed for molecular-level information on soil organic matter (SOM), with two main features:

 1.  An interactive toolbox providing users with advanced online data mining tools for                        processing public domain or private SOM data sets

2. A global repository for published living and non-living SOM data and associated metadata

You can visit and use the database online by visiting this webpage.

 For more information go to:

The programme for the event is available here.


An International Exploratory Workshop, 13 - 16 September 2011, ETH Zürich, Switzerland

"Pushing the size limits of Radiocarbon Analysis"

A workshop on small-scale radiocarbon analysis was held between 13 - 16 September 2011. The aim of the workshop was to bring together (potential) specialists both from the 'technical' side and the 'user' side, in order to exchange knowledge and ideas with respect to the practice (how?) and use (applications) of small-scale radiocarbon analysis (<50 microgram).

For information go to the website

A molecular database for terrestial environments, 2010, Oslo

Molecular databases have been identified as an important tool by the ESF MOLTER networking programme. The aim is to produce a widely-used online resource, which will generate the scientific synergies and advance European research in the field of soil molecular research, in agreement with the mandate of ESF networking programmes. To reach this general goal, multiple possibilities exist in terms of scope, format, and analysis tools. In this context, MOLTER sponsored an exploratory workshop in Oslo in May 2010 on the development of soil molecular databases. The overall framework of the database is to help our understanding of the complexity and composition of soil organic matter.

The outcome of the workshop was presented at the MOLTER-run SOM 2010 conference (France) together with a first prototype of computational database for soil molecular research based on the platform of the CEMAGREF model, which aims at integrating functions for archiving, processing and analyzing multiple types of raw data sources and their associated environmental metadata. The BETA version of database is now available and can be accessed from here.

Workshop: Global change and feedback from organic carbon dynamics 

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A MOLTER workshop organized by Prof. Michael Schmidt entitled: "Global change and feedback from organic carbon dynamics - Defining research visions on how to quantify the molecular-level mechanisms driving soil organic matter dynamics" took place at Lake Constance, in October 2009.

The picture above shows the workshop participants (from left to right): 1. row: Thorsten Dittmar, Ingrid Kögel-Knabner, Michael Schmidt, Susan Trumbore, and Johannes Lehmann. 2. row: Markus Kleber, Georg Guggenberger, Steve Weiner, and Samuel Abiven. 3. row: Daniel Rasse, Margaret Torn, Paolo Nannipieri, and David Manning 4. row: José A. González-Pérez, and Ivan Janssens.


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