Graduate School

Karst and global carbon cycle

This course is part of the programme:
Karstology (Third Level)

Objectives and competences

Student will be familiar with global geochemical and biochemical carbon cycle and with role of karstification. He/she will be learnt about carbon fluxes on karst, loops that connect system components, role of karst as source, sink or reservoir of carbon, methodology of carbon flux measurements on karst surface and underground, impact of karstification on carbon isotopic ratio in water and cave atmosphere as well as consequences of climatic changes on carbon cycling on karst.

With acquired knowledge, student will be competent in the field of knowing state of the art in carbon cycle research, he/she will be skilled to measure carbon fluxes on karst areas and skilled to evaluate future impact of climate changes on karst carbon cycling



Content (Syllabus outline)

  • Biochemical and geochemical global carbon cycle
  • Long-term and short-term carbon cycle – loops
  • Role and importance of karst processes (dissolution and sinter/tufa deposition) in carbon cycling
  • Quantitative physicochemical measurements of carbon fluxes on karst surface and underground
  • Carbon cycling and carbon isotopic ratio
  • Global and karstic aspect of carbon sources, sinks/storage/sequestration and reservoirs
  • Natural and anthropogenic impact on carbon cycle
  • Climate changes and carbon cycling on karst

Intended learning outcomes

Student will be able to perform his/her further fundamental and aplied research on carbon cycling on karst, he/she will be able to apply general measurement concepts on other similar research and to criticaly evaluate findings of related scientific disciplines.


-Dawson B., Spannagle M., 2009. The complete guide to climate change. Routledge, London/New York: 436 pp.

-Karst processes and the carbon cycle : IGCP 379. 1999. IGCP National Committee of Japan: 73 pp.

-Liu Z., Zhao J., 2000. Contribution of carbonate rock weathering to the atmospheric CO2 sink. Environmental Geology, 39, 9: 1053–1058.

-Koceli A., Kanduč T., Verbovšek T., 2013. Anorganski ogljikov cikel v sistemu tla-kamnina-podzemna voda v kraško-razpoklinskih vodonosnikih = Inorganic carbon cycle in soil-rock-groundwater system in karst and fissured aquifers. Geologija 56/2: 219-228.

-Zavadlav S., Kanduč T., McIntosh J., Lojen S., 2013. Isotopic and chemical constraints on the biogeochemistry of dissolved inorganic carbon and chemical weathering in the karst watershed of Krka river (Slovenia). Aquatic Geochemistry 19/3: 209-230.

-Kanduč T., Ogrinc N., 2007. Hydrogeochemical characteristics of the River Sava watershed in Slovenia. Geologija 50/1: 157-177.

-Liu Z., Svensson U., Dreybrodt W., Daoxian Y., Buhmann D., 1995. Hydrodynamic control of inorganic calcite precipitation in Huanglong Ravine, China: Field measurements and theoretical prediction of deposition rates. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 59: 3087-3097.

-Prelovšek M., 2012. The dynamics of the present-day speleogenetic processes in the stream caves of Slovenia. ZRC Publishing, Ljubljana: 152 pp.

-Faimon J., Ličbinska M., Zajiček P., Sracek O., 1012. Partial pressure of CO2 in epikarstic zone deduced from hydrogeochemistry of permanent drips, the Moravian karst, Czech republic. Acta Carsologica 41, 1: 47-57.

-Ferlan M., 2013. The use of micro-meteorological methods for the monitoring of the carbon fluxes in Karst ecosystems (PhD Thesis). Ljubljana: 102 pp.

-Gregorič A., Vaupotič J., Gabrovšek F., 2013. Reasons for large fluctuation of radon and CO2 levels in a dead-end passage of a karst cave (Postojna Cave, Slovenia). Natural hazards and earth system sciences 13/2: 287-297.

-Vodnik D., Videmšek U., Pintar M., Maček I., Pfanz H., 2009. The characteristics of soil CO2 fluxes at a site with natural CO2 enrichment. Geoderma 150: 32–37.

-Urbanc J., Trček B., Pezdič J., Lojen S., 1997. Dissolved inorganic carbon isotope composition of waters. Acta Carsologica 26/1: 236-256.

-Gams I., Kogovšek J., 1998. The dynamics of flowstone deposition in the Slovenien caves. Acta Carsologica 27/1: 229-324.


Oral exam (80 %) – it is intended to evaluate the knowledge attained by a student through lectures as well as his capacity of understanding, critical evaluation, articulation and expression of acquired knowledge. Condition to take examination is seminar work (20 %) on carbon cycling on karst or approach to carbon flux measurements.

Lecturer's references

Full Professor of Karstology.


University course code: 3KR052

Year of study: 2

Course principal:



  • Lectures: 50 hours
  • Exercises: 10 hours
  • Seminar: 30 hours
  • Individual work: 90 hours

Course type: elective

Languages: slovene, english

Learning and teaching methods:
• lectures • written seminar work • individual work upon a specific question • detailed knowledge of a part of student's phd thesis, according to its content