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CEG2607 : Geomicrobiology

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Jon Telling
  • Lecturer: Professor Neil Gray
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


The aims of this unit are to -
Introduce microorganisms and their study,
Introduce microbial processes of environmental and geochemical significance and
Provide detailed information on the most up to date methods for the study of microbial communities.
Introduce the analysis of microbial data sets.

The module introduces microbiology and microorganisms and explores their role in shaping the geochemistry of the Earth.
A survey of modern microorganisms and their activities of environmental and geochemical importance is an important foundation for the module as is the way that metabolic processes catalyzed by microorganisms are related to major elemental cycles, biogeochemical processes and contamination. The most up to date molecular methods used to study the diversity and activity of microorganisms in their natural habitats are detailed along with their benefits and limitations. The course is examined by unseen examination and a laboratory report assessment.

Outline Of Syllabus

Introduction to Geomicrobiology
Diversity of microbial life
Controls on microbial activity and abundance
Geomicrobiology as a driver of global elemental cycles
Microbial processes of environmental significance
Metabolic diversity of microorganisms
Methods to study microorganisms
Applied geomicrobiology

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials100:305:00Asynchronous online.
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion138:0038:00Preparation and completion of report
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion115:0015:00Preparation and completion of group presentation
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities151:0015:00N/A
Guided Independent StudySkills practice21:002:00online formative tests
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops41:004:00Present in Person wokshops
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops32:006:00Computer cluster workshops
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study115:0015:00Background reading
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Students will be taught through online lectures where they will acquire an understanding of the evolutionary and metabolic diversity of the microbial world and how it relates to biogeochemical processes including microbial degradation of contaminants. They will also gain detailed knowledge of how biological processes and microorganisms are measured and characterized in the environment. Through the practical class component of the course where they will not only gain an understanding of bacteria “in action” and bacterial activity but will demonstrate that they can analyse extensive data sets gathered during these practicals. The formative group presentation will increase skills and confidence in researching information and presenting in front of an audience.

Assessment Methods

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report2M100Written Report (1200 words max)
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Oral Presentation2MFormative group presentation
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Report write up is to test students' ability to analyse data and write conclusions based upon the information obtained during the practical sessions. The formative group presentation will test the students' ability to research and critically assess a state-of-the-art geomicrobiology topic and present it clearly to an audience.

Reading Lists