Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 2 x 1 hour lectures per week
Other 1 x 3 hour workshop. Date to be arranged after consultation with students.


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Seminar, poster and essay  35%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   Examination  65%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmission of failed coursework or alternative  35%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   65%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

* explain how microbes can be studied in natural habitats and the limitations of these methods

* describe the unique roles played by different microbes in the carbon and nitrogen cycles

* demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of how microbes interact with higher organisms

* utilize IT skills to analyze and evaluate literature for seminars and group poster presentations

* perform in a team to prepare and present a poster and seminar on a specific topics in microbial ecology


This module is designed to introduce students to the importance of microbes in biogeochemical cycles and the methods used to measure their biodiversity. biomass and activity.

Brief description

Via a series of lectures and workshops the module will develop a knowledge and understanding of the role played by microorganisms (fungi, bacteria, viruses, algae) in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, focusing on their importance in biogeochemical cycling as well as the methodologies used to study these organisms.



To include coverage of methods in microbial ecology (traditional/molecular), biochemical and genetic diversity within Bacteria/Archaea, role of fungi in lignocellulose degradation, dynamics of bacteria/virus interactions in lakes/streams, role of fungi in processing of debris in streams, deep ocean black smokers, primary productivity in pelagic habitats, interactions between microbes and animals, interactions (fungus farming/ oral microbiology/rumen ecosystem), between microbes and plants (mycorrhizas/nitrogen fixers).


To include student presentation of group posters and seminars in specific areas of microbial ecology (this will allow the participants a degree of specialization according to their degree scheme).

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Not relevant.
Communication Attendance at lectures and preparation and presentation of seminars and posters will provide opportunities to develop presentational (oral and written) and listening skills.
Improving own Learning and Performance Attendance at lectures, seminars and workshops, working to deadlines for seminars and workshops, and preparation for examinations will require the development of self management strategies and personal action plans.
Information Technology IT skills developed in seminar and poster presentation via * library and www resources to source information * use of PowerPoint poster preparation
Personal Development and Career planning Awareness of personal and career development skills will be developed through the coursework, e.g. teamwork for posters.
Problem solving
Research skills Practical work, seminars and poster preparation using library and www resources.
Team work Production and presentation of group posters. Practical sessions.

Reading List

Atlas, Ronald M. (c1998.) Microbial ecology : fundamentals and applications /Ronald M. Atlas, Richard Bartha. Primo search Bardgett, Richard D. (2005.) The biology of soil :a community and ecosystem approach /Richard D. Bardgett. Smith, S. E. (1997.) Mycorrhizal symbiosis /Sally E. Smith and David J. Read. Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 5