Module Identifier BS11110  
Academic Year 2006/2007  
Co-ordinator Dr Gareth W Griffith  
Semester Semester 2  
Other staff Mr Arwyn Edwards, Dr Alexandre M Anesio, Dr Helen Marshall, Dr Hazel M Davey  
Pre-Requisite Normally A or AS Biology or its equivalent.  
Course delivery Lecture   20 x 1h lectures  
  Practical   4 x 3 hours practicals (duplicated)  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Exam2 Hours Two hour written semester examination.  70%
Semester Assessment Continuous Assessment: Continuous assessment of practicals via multiple choice tests.  30%
Supplementary Assessment2 Hours One 2 hour written examination; re-submission of failed course work.  100%

Learning outcomes

On completion of the module the student should


The module is designed as an introduction to the diversity and adaptability of micro-organisms. This module reviews the diversity of a form, the nutritional versatility and the environmental adaptability of micro-organisms.


Initially the three domain classifications of life forms and the place of 'micro-organisms' within this scheme is discussed. This will include a comparison of prokaryotes and eukaryotes. A brief introduction to the viruses will be included.

Next a basic introduction is given to the general features of the non-photosynthetic bacteria covering diversity of morphology, cell structure and reproduction. A review of the economic importance of bacteria follows which will cover their use in industry, e.g. pharmaceutical and food industry, and their role in plant and animal disease.

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. Three lectures review the adaptability of the fungi, especially their role in the production and decomposition cycles in terrestrial ecosystems and their abilities to act as pathogens of and 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 and eukaryotes (algae) are introduced. 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 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.

Reading Lists

** Recommended Text
Madigan, T.M., Martinko, J.M. & Parker, J. (2000) Brock-Biology of Microorganisms 10th. US Imports & PHIPEs
** Reference Text
Deacon, J. (1999) Introduction to modern mycology 4th. Blackwell Scientific Publications
Mauseth, J.D. (2003) Botany: an introduction to plant biology Jones & Bartlett Publishers International


This module is at CQFW Level 4