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03.12.2021 14:43:43
mar580 - Profile Module Microbial ecology of marine sediments (Complete module description)
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Module label Profile Module Microbial ecology of marine sediments
Module code mar580
Credit points 6.0 KP
Workload 180 h
Institute directory Institute for Chemistry and Biology of the Marine Environment
Applicability of the module
  • Master's Programme Microbiology (Master) > Mastermodule
Responsible persons
Könneke, Martin (Module responsibility)
Engelen, Bert (Module counselling)
Lecture: Microbial ecology
Skills to be acquired in this module
The students know how to
  • sample marine sediments
  • characterize the cores sedimentologically and biogeochemically
  • collect and analyze porewater
  • determine total cell counts
  • quantify groups of organisms molecular biologically
  • cultivate different physiological groups of bacteria
  • present and discuss scientific results
  • write a scientific protocol
Module contents
Microbial ecology of marine sediments: The physiological diversity of microorganisms and their spatial distribution within marine sediments are demonstrated according to chemical and physical parameters. Different physiological groups are analysed along the sediment column of intertidal sandflat or beach. Sediment sampling is performed at the back barrier area of the island 'Spiekeroog' at the beginning of the course.
Oxygen penetration, porewater sulfate and methane concentrations are measured down to a depth of app. 5 meters. As microbiological parameters, total cell numbers are counted and the numbers of archaea and bacteria are calculated after quantitative PCR (qPCR). More specifically, the relative amounts of sulfate reducers and methanogens are also determined by qPCR targeting key-genes for sulfate reduction and methanogenesis. Furthermore, every single group of students will specifically enrich one physiological type of microorganisms from distinctive sediment layers. Microbial growth and activity are monitored over the whole period of the course.
Accompanying the course, all participants will give a talk to introduce 'their' physiological group concerning its ecology, physiology, and strategies for a specific enrichment. All the data and observations of the single groups will be combined at the end of the course to draw an overall picture of microbial diversity and the occurrence of the different physiological groups corresponding to relevant geochemical gradients.
Reader's advisory
Language of instruction English
Duration (semesters) 1 Semester
Module frequency jährlich
Module capacity unlimited
Reference text
6 CP | SE; PR | 2. FS | Engelen
Modullevel / module level
Modulart / typ of module je nach Studiengang Pflicht oder Wahlpflicht
Lehr-/Lernform / Teaching/Learning method Block course, 2 weeks, seminar and laboratory work
Vorkenntnisse / Previous knowledge Lecture: Microbial ecology and Lecture: Sediment microbiology
Course type Comment SWS Frequency Workload of compulsory attendance
1 14
Practical training
4 56
Total time of attendance for the module 70 h
Examination Time of examination Type of examination
Final exam of module
Announced during the course.
One assessment of examination:
Portfolio (seminar presentation, written protocol)

Protocol (100 %), seminar presentation (no mark). Active participation (Active and documented participation in practical courses (labs, exercises, seminars, field trips) and courses. These include e.g. the delivery of exercises, writing a lab report or seminar presentations according to the advice of the course supervisor.)