Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
Environmental Microbiology and Monitoring
Academic Year
Semester 2
Exclusive (Any Acad Year)
Reading List
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Practical report and data analysis  (2000 word lab report, including analysis of data)  40%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   Semester Exam  60%
Supplementary Assessment Supplementary Assessment  Students must take elements of assessment equivalent to those that led to failure of the module. 2000 Words  40%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   Supplementary Exam  Students must take elements of assessment equivalent to those that led to failure of the module.  60%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Explain the roles played by different microbes in the key biogeochemical cycles (carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus).

2. Demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of how different groups of microbes interact with each other and higher organisms.

3. Demonstrate a knowledge of how natural habitats can be investigated and how research methods differ from those used for routine monitoring.

4. Utilize IT skills to analyze and evaluate literature and experiments.

Brief description

Lectures and practical sessions will develop a knowledge and understanding of the roles played by microbes in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, focusing on their importance in biogeochemical cycling. The module will also explore methodologies used to study these organisms, the cycles they influence and broader ecosystem conditions in the context of environmental standards.

This module is designed to introduce students to the theory and practice of the core microbial-based nutrient cycles in terrestrial and aquatic habitats. As well as describing biogeochemical cycles in these habitats and the microbes involved, the module will also cover methods used to detect/monitor microbial activity, biomass and biodiversity. Approaches to monitoring of ecosystem status and pollutant levels, and their role in the early detection of environmental degradation, are also considered. The need for methods for monitoring such changes to be repeatable, accurate and to link to statutory regulations is explained. Lectures on methodology will be linked to a series of practical classes.


Initial lectures cover the key biogeochemical cycles (C,N, P), biochemical and genetic diversity within Bacteria/Archaea, role of fungi in lignocellulose degradation, microbial interactions in lakes/streams, role of fungi in processing of debris in streams, primary productivity in pelagic habitats, interactions between microbes and animals, and between microbes and plants. Methods in microbial ecology (biochemical/molecular) are assessed, leading onto a description of broader techniques in environmental monitoring. Relationships between these techniques and the process of setting environmental protection standards are considered. The relative merits of biological and chemical assays of environmental conditions will be discussed.

Essay Assignment
The submission of an essay on specific case studies in microbial ecology forms part of the module assessment. This provides the opportunity for students to focus their personal research into the functioning of a particular ecosystem (pristine or degraded).
A series of practical classes covers selected microbiological and chemical assays used in the assessment of ecosystem quality.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number During data analysis from practical classes.
Communication Written communication during writing of essay, practical report and exam.
Improving own Learning and Performance In course feedback on coursework (online and verbal) will be provided plus exam revision sessions.
Information Technology During online research for essay assignment and during analysis of data from practical classes.
Personal Development and Career planning Not specifically developed but there any many employment opportunities in environmental monitoring.
Problem solving During analysis of data from practicals.
Research skills During online research for essay.
Subject Specific Skills The module covers the theory and practice of several key methods in environmental monitoring.
Team work During practical classes.


This module is at CQFW Level 5