Microorganisms live everywhere, and have transformed the Earth from a barren ball of rock to the current oxygen-rich environment with a large biodiversity. In this module, we will introduce microbial ecology – the interaction between microbes and their environment. Microbes are key to understand the functioning of the Planet Earth.
This module provides an introduction to microbial mediated processes in natural environments, such as, carbon and nutrient cycling in terrestrial ecosystems and in the ocean, the role of microbes in ecosystems, and the interaction between microbes, minerals and plants. Furthermore, the advanced biotechnology in understanding the microbial diversity and functions will be included.
A understand microbial diversity and phylogenetic relationships among microbes
B elucidate the role of microbes in biogeochemical cycles and in biosphere-climate feedback mechanisms
C understand and analyze the physical-chemical environment for various microbial communities
D evaluate the contribution made by modern molecular techniques in determining phylogenies and the composition of microbial communities;
E practice microorganism cultivation and isolation in labs
The module is lecture-based, integrated with tutorials and hand-on experiments. The lectures will be given with photos and videos to help the students grasp the existence and behaviours of invisible microorganisms. Tutorials might be delivered as flipped classroom, discussion, or Q/A. The experiments will be performed in labs, and assessed by lab notebooks.