BIOL213-21S2 (C) Semester Two 2021


15 points

Start Date: Monday, 19 July 2021
End Date: Sunday, 14 November 2021
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 1 August 2021
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 1 October 2021


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

Mātai koiora moroiti | Microbiology
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.
Who is this course intended for?
BIOL213 is targeted at students with an interest in microbiology, microbial ecology, biodiversity and biotechnology using microorganisms. It provides the microbiological fundamentals for applied microbiology and fundamental microbiological research. Most importantly, the course is designed to build both research and employment skills. The learning and laboratories skills in this course are essential for third year Advanced Microbiology (BIOL313), and important for 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 ecosystems, and why microbiology is important at all scales (assessment tasks: final exam, laboratory pre- and post-worksheets, midsemester test) (GP1, GP2, GP5)
  • Master methods for studying microorganisms safely (assessment task: laboratory worksheets) (GP1).
  • Understand and interpret experimental evidence, and how to develop a hypothesis (assessment task: laboratory worksheets) (GP1, GP2).
  • Understand key methods of handling and using microorganisms in the laboratory (assessment tasks: final exam, laboratory pre- and post-worksheets, midsemester test) (GP1)
  • Be competent in experimental design and the use of mathematics and chemistry in microbiology (assessment tasks: laboratory pre- and post-worksheets) (GP1, GP2).
  • Be able to isolate and subculture a bacterial strain (assessment task: lab assessment) (GP1, GP2).
  • Have core microbiology knowledge (GP1, GP2, GP3 (K7), GP5). These will include:
    - fundamentals of microbiology
    - microbial genetics
    - microbial metabolism and growth
    - ‘microbial detection and control
    - human microbiome and disease
    - microorganism-host interactions
    - geomicrobiological ecosystem and biogeochemical cycles
    Pūkenga Ngaio | Transferable Skills
    The following skills are developed in this course:
  • Core microbiology wet-laboratory skills (Important for careers that include lab work):
    - Aseptic techniques
    - Experimental design
  • 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.


Recommended Preparation

Timetable Note

It is compulsory to wear safety glasses and a lab coat during labs.

To purchase approved safety glasses, lab or coats go to
The collection point for purchases is inside the southern entry to the Ernest Rutherford Building, Monday to Friday between the hours 8.30 – 10.00 am and 1.30 – 3.00 pm for the first two weeks of the semester.

Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Matthew Stott


Ian Dickie

Lab Coordinator

Craig Galilee


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Final exam 40%
Post-laboratory worksheets/assessments 15%
Pre-laboratory worksheets 20%
Academic skills test 5%
Mid-Semester test 20%

Textbooks / Resources

Recommended Reading

Madigan, Michael T. et al; Brock biology of microorganisms ; Fifteenth edition; Pearson, 2018.

Course links

Course Outline

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $910.00

International fee $4,438.00

* 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

  • BIOL213-21S2 (C) Semester Two 2021