The course will make you familiar with the main biogeochemical cycles on earth, exemplified in aquatic ecosystems, and the diversity of microorganisms and microbial energy metabolisms that are driving these element cycles. After having followed this course you will be able to
Based on this, you are able to formulate relevant research questions and approaches about the role of microorganisms in aquatic ecosystems.
- understand on a global level the microbial processes involved in aquatic carbon, nitrogen, sulfur and iron cycles
- understand the various forms of (redox) energy metabolism of microorganisms and predict which processes are likely to occur under given circumstances
- choose the most appropriate method(s) currently used in microbial ecology to answer specific questions on the role of microorganisms in aquatic ecosystems, and critically evaluate their advantages and shortcomings
- critically read and evaluate a scientific manuscript, and explain its essence and your judgment to your peers
- collaborate in a small group to discuss and present scientific work, and incorporate constructive feedback in preparation of presentations
This course is an integral part of the Master's specialization Communities & Ecosystems, but also relevant for the MSc specializations Adaptive Organisms, Water and Environment and Transnational ecosystem-based water management. It introduces you to different aquatic ecosystems, their overall functioning and highlights the role of microbes in the biogeochemical cycles of nitrogen, sulfur, iron and carbon/methane. Special attention is given to microbial production and consumption of greenhouse gases.|
In addition to lectures concerning the element cycles and methods to study microorganisms, you will prepare (in pairs) a presentation on current methods for microbiological research or a case study focusing on the role of microorganisms in different aquatic ecosystems and element cycles.