BIO2017 : Microbiology 2

Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


To build on the basic concepts of microbiology introduced in BIO1004 (Microbiology 1).
To introduce and develop an appreciation of prokaryote and eukaryote microbial evolution and diversity.
To develop an understanding of the diverse roles that micro-organisms play in the natural world and how they help maintain ecosystem function.
To explain how micro-organisms impinge upon mankind both in positive and negative ways.
To introduce and give first hand laboratory experience in isolating and handling microbes and exploring their biological function.

Outline Of Syllabus

All life on this planet is dependent upon microbial life. You will be introduced to the fantastic diversity of microbial life and its place in the tree of life. The second part of the module will explain some of the key roles microbes play in the environment, including their ability to cope with extreme environments, their role in global nutrient cycling and nitrogen fixation and their symbiotic (both mutually beneficial and antagonistic) interactions with plants and animals (Rhizobium with roots, mycorrhizal fungi, plant and animal pathogens etc.). Examples of some the impacts microbes have had on mankind and the environment will include the role microbes play in human health, the role of microbes in biofilm formation, and how to prevent microbial spoilage of food.

Lecture 1 Introduction and bacterial diversity
Lecture 2 Human Microbiology
Lecture 3 Extremophiles
Lecture 4 Microbial Earth
Lecture 5 Microbial Symbioses 1
Lecture 6 Microbial Symbioses 2      
Lecture 7 Fungal Diversity
Lecture 8 Microbial Plant Pathogens 1
Lecture 9 Microbial Plant Pathogens 2
Lecture 10 Microbial-plant Interactions 1
Lecture 11 Microbial-plant Interactions 2
Lecture 12 Microbial-plant Interactions 3
Lecture 13 Biofilms 1
Lecture 14 Biofilms 2
Lecture 15 Viruses
Lecture 16 Q&A

Lab sessions
3 Microbial ecology: Isolation techniques, assessing diversity and comparing microbial populations from different agricultural soil.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion11:301:30Final exam
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion160:308:00Revision for final exam
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion91:009:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture161:0016:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion118:3018:30Study of lectures, ReCap, Blackboard etc.
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading161:0016:00Completion of post-lecture directed reading
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesPractical33:009:00N/A
Guided Independent StudySkills practice21:002:00Calculations homework
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study201:0020:00Includes 2hrs group work
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lecture series will provide the necessary information to understand the diversity and importance of microbial life. Students will be encouraged to supplement this information with knowledge gained from WEB based information sources (Tree of Life website).
The practicals will give the students hands on experience at setting up isolation protocols and then isolating and exploring activities of microbes from suitable ecosystems. This should give them first hand appreciation of the diversity and importance of microbial life. They will work in small teams and acquire team work and organisational skills.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
PC Examination902A65N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Practical/lab report2M20Practical worksheet
Practical/lab report2M15Practical report
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The factual information provided in lectures will be assessed by written examination. The use of MCQ’s etc. will test knowledge acquisition and short answer questions will test breadth of knowledge of the factual information given. The two extended answer questions will in addition, test the ability of students to organise and synthesize factual information into a concise written account.

The laboratory exercise will be assessed through the submission of written laboratory reports. There will be some formative student peer assessment of microbiology skills acquired during practical sessions.

Reading Lists