Microbial Ecology

Type of instruction




Part of degree program


Recommended in

Semesters 1-4

Typically offered in

Autumn/Spring semester

Course description

1. Introduction to microbial ecology. Strain, population, guild, community, ecosystem.

2. Methods in microbial ecology: enrichment and isolation, viability and quantification using staining techniques, genetic stains, community analysis by cultivation independent methods

3. Traditional (typological, morphological, biological, evolutionary, phylogenetic) concept of species. Species concept for prokaryotes. Microbial speciation.

4. Microbes in nature. Microbes and microenvironment, microbes and macroenvironment. Effects of habitats, genome size, diversity.

5. Cross-species interactions among prokaryotes: quorum sensing. Population spatial stability.

6. Biogeography and mapping microbial diversity. Ubiquitos dispersal of free-living microorganisms. Microbial endemism.

7. Species interactions and processes.

8. Bacteria and viral interactions. Microbial loop. Metabiosis.

9. Biogeochemical cycling of carbon, nitrogen, sulphur and phosphorous. The global dimension of the biogeochemical cycles.

10. Freshwater microbiology. Deep-sea microbiology, hydrothermal vents.

11. Concepts in community ecology: biofilms, functional diversity, niche constructionists.

12. Microbiology of terrestrial environments. Deep biospheres.

13. Microbial adaptation to extreme environments I.: temperature, pressure

14. Microbial adaptation to extreme environments II.: pH, salinity

  • Bull A.T. (ed.): Microbial diversity and bioprospecting. ASM Press, Washington, 2004

  • Stackebrandt E. (ed.): Molecular identification, systematics and population structure of prokaryotes. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 2006