Aquatic Microbial Ecology (MEES 698A)



This is a graduate course exploring the ecological roles of microorganisms in marine, estuarine, and freshwater ecosystems.  It is a hybrid of a traditional Environmental Microbiology course—covering microbial growth, physiology, and metabolism—and a Marine Microbiology course—covering microbial contributions to biogeochemistry, aquatic food webs, and ecological theory.  Topics will include diversity and regulation of metabolic processes, the role of microbes in element cycling, microbial food webs, interactions with plants and animals, and phylogenetic and functional diversity of aquatic microorganisms.  The course also covers recent developments in genetic sequencing and analysis as applied to microbial ecosystems.  Though emphasis will be placed on estuarine and marine ecosystems, lacustrine and riverine systems will also be discussed, and topics such as microbial growth, molecular methods, and ecological theory are applicable to terrestrial ecosystems.

Integrating Microbial Ecology and Geochemistry (MEES 608M)

Seminar course, 2 credits; Offered over IVN

Taught in Fall 2013

Though microbial ecology and geochemistry are intertwined, integrating the tools of molecular biology and analytical chemistry within a single study is relatively recent.  In this class we will learn approaches for integrating molecular biological techniques and geochemistry through readings of the recent primary literature.  These examples will highlight some of the most exciting questions and recent discoveries in biogeochemistry, including anaerobic ammonium oxidation, anaerobic methane oxidation, and the marine sulfur cycle.  Aquatic, terrestrial, and host-associated environments will be addressed.  Students with a background in either biology or chemistry are encouraged to take the course, and will take an active role in shaping the course direction.  This is a good opportunity to learn about modern techniques in ‘omics’ and geochemistry with a focus on applications.