MCB 324: Microbial Ecology



Learning Outcomes
At the end of this course, students will be able to:
1. describe microbial interactions between microbial populations;
2. explain microbial interactions between plants and animals;
3. identify microbial community dynamics;
4. elucidate transfer of matter and energy between trophic levels in an ecosystem; and
5. explain biotechnological aspects of microbial ecology (metal recovery, hydrocarbon recovery,
biofuel generation)

Course Contents
Microbes and ecological theory. Microbial evolution (chemical and cellular evolution) and
biodiversity, phylogeny, physiological, morphological and genetic adaptations of micro-organisms
to their environment. Microbial interactions (interactions among microbial populations, interaction
between microorganisms and plants interactions between microorganisms and animals). Microorganisms in natural ecosystems. The life of micro-organisms in air, springs, rivers, lakes and
seas. Biogeochemical cycling of elements in water, soil and sediments (including methanogenesis,
methylotrophy transformations involving carbon, nitrogen, sulphur, phosphorus and manganese
etc.). Microbial community dynamics (include genetic/molecular diversity indices, species diversity
indices). Biotechnology aspects of microbial ecology (e.g. global warming, microbial enhanced oil
recovery, liquid waste treatment, recovery of metals and biofuel generation). Aeromicrobiology.