mar453 - Microbial ecology of marine sediments (Complete module description)

mar453 - Microbial ecology of marine sediments (Complete module description)

Original version English PDF Download
Module label Microbial ecology of marine sediments
Modulkürzel mar453
Credit points 6.0 KP
Workload 180 h
Institute directory Institute for Chemistry and Biology of the Marine Environment
Verwendbarkeit des Moduls
  • Master's Programme Marine Environmental Sciences (Master) > Mastermodule
Zuständige Personen
  • Könneke, Martin (module responsibility)

Lecture: Sediment Microbiology

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.


Will be announced.

Language of instruction English
Duration (semesters) 1 Semester
Module frequency annually
Module capacity unlimited
Type of module Wahlpflicht / Elective
Module level MM (Mastermodul / Master module)
Teaching/Learning method Wahlpflichtbereich Biologie, Ökologie


PR/Ü Microbial ecology of marine sediments
SE Microbial ecology of marine sediments
Form of instruction Comment SWS Frequency Workload of compulsory attendance
Exercises (Praktikum) 5 SoSe 70
Seminar 1 SoSe 14
Präsenzzeit Modul insgesamt 84 h
Examination Prüfungszeiten Type of examination
Final exam of module

Announced during the course.

1 benotete Prüfungsleistung
Portfolio or protocol

Active participation 
Seminar presentation (no mark)

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.