Module Identifier BS11110  
Academic Year 2000/2001  
Co-ordinator Mr Alvin Jones  
Semester Semester 1  
Other staff Dr Gareth Griffith, Dr Lesley Manchester  
Pre-Requisite Normally A or AS Biology or its equivalent.  
Course delivery Lecture   20 Hours  
  Practical   15 Hours (5 x 3 hours)  
Assessment Exam   2 Hours written semester examination.   70%  
  Continuous assessment   Continuous assessment of practical.   30%  
  Resit assessment   2 Hours One 2 hour written examination; re-submission of failed course work.   100%  

Module description

Aims and objectives
The module is designed as an introduction to the diversity and adaptability of micro-organisms. An integrated lecture and practical course given by three members of staff reviews the diversity of form, the nutritional versatility and the environmental adaptability of micro-organisms.

Initially the five kingdom and three domain classifications of life forms and the place of 'micro-organisms' within such schemes are discussed. This will include a comparison of prokaryotes and eukaryotes.

Next a basic introduction is given to the general features of the non-photosynthetic bacteria covering their morphology, cell structure and multiplication.

The kingdom Fungi is then defined and an account of the economic importance of these micro-organisms is given. A review of the major groups of fungi, discussing their diversity of form, genetic systems and life strategies follows. Fungal growth is then discussed beginning with the hyphal tip and ending with a discussion of the organisation of the fungal mycelium. Fungi in the environment is a theme which occupies the last section of the course, which reviews the adaptability of the fungi, especially their role in the production and decomposition cycles in terrestrial ecosystems and their abilities to act as mutualistic partners with animals and plants.

The next section of the course aims to explore the diversity of form and function in the photosynthetic micro-organisms, particularly where their photosynthetic nature distinguishes them from other groups. The photosynthetic prokaryotes (bacteria and cyanobacteria) and photosynthetic eukaryotes (algae) are introduced. A review of the economic importance of photosynthetic micro-organisms, including mass culture, food products and production of toxins follows. The photosynthetic prokaryotes are then discussed, beginning with an account of the photosynthetic systems in oxygenic and anoxygenic bacteria. Cell ultrastructure, morphology, growth and reproduction, nitrogen fixation and heterocyst function in cyanobacteria are then considered. The morphology, cell structure and reproduction of photosynthetic eukaryotic micro-organisms (algae) are reviewed next and the course ends with a discussion of the organism-organism interactions in the lichen symbiosis.

Practical classes illustrate aspects of the lecture course. Light microscopy is used to examine a range of micro-organisms. Additionally, the execution of simple experimental investigations using micro-organisms introduces the student to safe ways of handling micro-organisms and all students are expected to have acquired basic knowledge of sterile handling techniques by the end of the course. Video microscopy is extensively used to help in interpretation of the practical material. Practicals are assessed by means of tests within the practical classes.

Learning outcomes
On completion of the module the student should

Reading Lists
** Reference Text
Moore, R., Clark, W.D. & Vodopick, D.S.. (1998) Botany. 2nd. WCB McGraw Hill
Deacon, J.. (1994) Introduction to modern mycology. 3rd. Blackwell Scientific Publications
Ingold, C.T. & Hudson, H.J.. (1993) The biology of fungi. 6th. Cambridge University Press
Mauseth, J.D.. (1995) Botany: an introduction to plant biology. Saunders College Publishing
South, G.R. & Whittick, A.. (1987) Introduction to phycology. Blackwell Scientific Publishing