Aquatic Microbial Ecology

EMBC+ MODULE 1: Understanding the structure and function of Marine Biodiversity

This course unit will cover the microbial biodiversity occurring in natural marine ecosystems with emphasis on eubacteria, archaebacteria, cyanobacteria, micro-algae and protozoa that play a crucial role in the microbial balance of seas and oceans. Next to general overviews on microbial diversity, natural interactions and importance for ecosystem functioning, a number of lectures will be specifcially dedicated to methodological aspects of microbial sampling, isolation, enumeration and identification.

The following lectures or lecture series are scheduled in this course unit:

- General introduction to bacterial diversity of aquatic prokaryotes
- Bacteriological sampling and identification techniques
- Polyphasic identification of aquatic prokaryotes
- Aeromonas and Vibrio: two prototypical aquatic prokaryotes
- Molecular diversity and dynamics of bacterial populations in seas and oceans

- General overview of the biodiversity of aquatic micro-algae and protozoa
- Sampling, culturing and identification of aquatic micro-algae and protozoa
- Functional diversity of aquatic micro-algae and protozoa
- Biodiversity patterns of aquatic eukaryotic micro-organisms (e.g. seasonality, biogeographical aspects)
- Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs)

- Microbial interactions in marine ecosystems

In addition to the scheduled lectures, students will receive one or more literature assignments. In this way, students have the opportunity to analyze and summarize the experimental design and major findings of published studies in the field of Marine Microbiology, and to present their own views before fellow students by means of an oral Powerpoint presentation.

microbial biodiversity, taxonomy, identification, prokaryotes, protozoa, micro-algae, marine ecosystems

Basic knowledge of the diversity of prokaryotes, micro-algae and protozoa


- Recognition and description of functional microbial diversity in seas and oceans
- Understanding and explaining microbial interactions in marine ecosystems
- Deciding on methodological aspects for isolation and identification of aquatic micro-organisms
- Summarizing and discussing published literature data