Curriculum & Course Descriptions


BS0002 Environmental Microbiology

Course Coordinator: Asst Prof Diane McDougald / Assoc Prof Scott Rice (email: /

Academic Unit: 3 AU

Availability: Semester 2

Pre-requisite: BS2002

Course Type: GER-Core

Language of instruction: English

Teaching hours:  Lectures: 26 hours; Tutorials: 8 hours

Learning Objective: After completion of the course students will have an understanding of microbial ecology concepts, including factors that limit microbial growth in natural habitats, methods for studying microbial populations and their function in the environment, ecological principles and mechanisms of interactions within mixed microbial communities and between microorganisms and higher organisms and the effect of microorganisms on the global environment e.g.: their role in cycling of elements.

Content: The course will present a comprehensive introduction to microbial ecology and cover fundamental aspects of physiology, phylogeny and diversity of microbial communities in the environment (including engineered systems). Particular emphasis will be placed on iinteractions between microbes and between microbes and other organisms, the role of microorganisms and the Earth ecosystem, global biogeochemistry and metabolic diversity. We will also discuss how an understanding of microbial ecology can be used to solve environmental problems.

Learning Outcome: Students will learn how microorganisms interact in the environment, their relationship to global biogeochemical cycles. Understand the importance of microorganisms in the drinking water cycle and how microorganisms transform the environment. Understand mechanisms of adaptation of bacteria to different environments. Gain an appreciation of methods for the study of complex communities.