BIOL213-18S2 (C) Semester Two 2018

Microbiology and Genetics

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 16 July 2018
End Date: Sunday, 18 November 2018
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Friday, 27 July 2018
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 12 October 2018


An introduction to the fundamental principles of microbiology and microbial genetics.

Is there anything that microorganisms cannot do? Microorganisms are the foundation of all of Earth’s ecosystems.

They mediate innumerable interactions with humans, plants, animals, and each other. They can be found in the deepest subsurface sediments to boiling hot springs to the tips of the atmosphere, and we make use of them from everything from food production to drug production.

This course provides focussed introductory learning on microorganisms, microbial activity and the roles microorganisms play from the molecular to the global scale.

You will learn about microbial genetics, metabolism, host-microbe interactions and global microbe-ecosystem interactions.

During the lectures and the labs, topics covered include the gut microbiome, fermentation & food microbiology, geomicrobiology, plant-microbial interactions including disease and biocontrol, microbial coexistence and competition, and the microbiology of extreme environments.

The laboratory component of this course has an emphasis on mastering practical microbiology skills such as aseptic technique, experimental design and planning, and methods for controlling microbial growth.

The course also includes a field trip as part of the laboratory schedule.

The learning and laboratories skills in this course are essential for third year Advanced Microbiology (BIOL313), and third year molecular biology and biochemistry courses.

Learning Outcomes

  • At the end of the course, students will:
  • Have a broad understanding and knowledge of microbiology in society and in ecosystems, and why microbiology is important at all scales (assessment tasks: final exam, laboratory pre- and post-worksheets, assignment)
  • Master methods for studying microbes safely (assessment task: laboratory worksheets).
  • Understand and interpret experimental evidence, and how to develop a hypothesis (assessment task: Final exam, laboratory worksheets).
  • Understand key methods of handling and using microorganisms in the laboratory (assessment tasks: final exam, laboratory pre- and post-worksheets, assignment)
  • Be competent in experimental design and the use of mathematics and chemistry in microbiology (assessment tasks: prerequisite test, laboratory pre- and post-worksheets)
  • Isolate and subculture a bacterial strain (assessment task: lab assessment)
  • Have core microbiology knowledge. These will include:
    o microbial genetics
    o microbial metabolism
    o microbial detection and control
    o human microbiome and disease
    o microorganism-host interactions
    o geomicrobiological ecosystem and biogeochemical cycles
    o microbes in biotechnology and microbial monitoring

    Skills register
    The following skills are developed in this course:
  • Core microbiology wet-laboratory skills (Important for careers that include lab work):
    o Aseptic techniques
    o Experimental design
    o Experimental data analysis and interpretation
  • Work safely in a molecular lab and comply with PC2 containment regulation (Important for careers that include lab work).
  • Independent and self-motivated learning. A life-skill that is important in any career.
  • Finding, understanding, and using information in literature and on the internet. These are very general skills that are essential in many careers.
  • Written and oral communication. Many employers require employees to have good communication skills.
    • University Graduate Attributes

      This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

      Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

      Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.

      Employable, innovative and enterprising

      Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.

      Biculturally competent and confident

      Students will be aware of and understand the nature of biculturalism in Aotearoa New Zealand, and its relevance to their area of study and/or their degree.

      Globally aware

      Students will comprehend the influence of global conditions on their discipline and will be competent in engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts.


Timetable Note

Labs run dis-continuously, see MyTimetable for occurrence details. For any changes in lab allocation please contact the lab technician: Craig Galilee

It is compulsory to wear a lab coat in the laboratory and can be purchased at the beginning of the year.

Where to purchase your lab coats and safety glasses


To purchase: buy a receipt from the Copy Centre, 2nd floor, Puaka-James Hight building, (payment by eftpos and credit card only – lab coats $32, glasses $10), 9.00 am - 4.00 pm, Monday to Friday.

Receipts may then be exchanged in the atrium inside the southern entry to the Ernest Rutherford Building, 8.30 – 10 am and 1.30 – 2.30 pm, Monday to Friday for the first two weeks of the semester.

After the first two weeks they can be collected from Ernest Rutherford Room 130 (Chemical Store).

Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Matthew Stott


Ian Dickie , Mitja Remus-Emsermann and Jack Heinemann

Lab Technicians

Craig Galilee and Thomas Evans


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Final Exam 40%
Post-laboratory worksheets 25%
Pre-laboratory worksheets 12%
Prerequisite skills test 5%
Assignment 09 Sep 2018 18%

* Attendance at labs is compulsory (unless you have a medical certificate). To gain a pass in this course a student must achieve a mark of 50% overall plus achieve an average of at least 40% in both laboratory assessments and written tests/examination. The laboratory practical covers six weeks, one day/week. Students repeating this course will be exempt from labs with the approval of the course co-ordinator.

Textbooks / Resources

Required Texts

Madigan, Michael T.,1949- et al; Brock biology of microorganisms ; Fourteenth edition, Global edition; Pearson, 2015.

Recommended Reading

Willey, Joanne M. , Sherwood, Linda, Woolverton, Christopher J; Prescott's microbiology ; Ninth edition; McGraw-Hill, 2014.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $865.00

International fee $3,788.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see School of Biological Sciences .

All BIOL213 Occurrences

  • BIOL213-18S2 (C) Semester Two 2018