BIOL313-23S2 (C) Semester Two 2023

Advanced Microbiology

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 17 July 2023
End Date: Sunday, 12 November 2023
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 30 July 2023
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 1 October 2023


This course builds on BIOL213 and explores microbial ecology, advanced food and agricultural microbiology, disease and pathogenesis. The course emphasises bacteria and fungi, with other microbes also considered. Both fundamental and applied microbiology will be covered. The practical component of the course consists of isolating and characterising novel microbial strains, using both molecular and traditional approaches.

The general aim of the course is to advance your microbiological knowledge by covering the key principles of:
• Current methods used in microbiology (traditional and molecular)
• Microbial ecology
• Environmental microbiology
• Culture selection and food microbiology
• Agriculture (water, soil and gut)
• Pathogenesis/symbiosis
• Biogeochemical processes and life at the extremes

The laboratory-based component of the course consists of student-led, research project.

Who is this course intended for?
BIOL313 is targeted at students with an interest in microbiology, microbial ecology, biodiversity, and biotechnology using microorganisms. Students will explore advanced microbiological concepts and will undertake a laboratory programme designed build applied and fundamental microbiological research skills. The course is also designed to build research and employment skills, in particular, skills needed for the critical analyses of literature and data, and microbiology research experimental design.

Learning Outcomes

  • As a student in this course I will:
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the techniques used in modern and traditional microbiology and their advantages and disadvantages (Graduate profiles: GP1, GP2; Assessment task: Mid-term tests and Final exam).
  • Master microbiological techniques. The laboratory component will give you time to hone your experimental skills and to learn the tools of the trade including aseptic technique, media preparation, independent planning of experiments, laboratory mathematics, as well as documentation and evaluation of results (Graduate profiles: GP1, GP2; Assessment task: Laboratory report).
  • Apply general microbiology knowledge to interpretation and understanding ecological processes in industrial, food, and environmental microbiology (Graduate profiles: GP1, GP2, GP5, K7; Assessment task: Mid-term tests and Final exam)
  • Design and critically evaluate experiments to enrich and isolate microorganisms, and determine growth, physiology and test chemotaxonomic traits (Graduate profiles: Mastering their chosen discipline; Assessment task: Laboratory report).
  • Understand, interpret and evaluate experimental data and communicate scientific findings in a written form (Graduate profiles: GP1; Assessment task: Laboratory report).
  • Demonstrate an awareness of issues linked with data sovereignty and the implications of using indigenous microorganisms for research or applications to Maori (Graduate profiles: K7; GP5; Assessment task: Mid-term tests and Final exam)

    Pūkenga Ngaio | Transferable Skills

    As a student in this course, I will develop the following skills:
  • Scientific reading, writing and presentation: In most scientific jobs you will be required to read and understand scientific literature. Clear written and oral communication is essential for any professional career (Graduate profiles: GP1, GP2; Assessment task: Laboratory report)
  • Experimental design, microbiology experimental skills, numeracy and data analysis: Important in any research focused jobs (Graduate profiles: GP1, GP2; Assessment task: Laboratory report)


Timetable Note

Taught material for BIOL313 will be undertaken in the form of nine 2-hour tutorials. The tutorials will consist of approximately 45-60 minutes lectured material followed by ~45-60 minutes of group work/tutorial working through problems/concepts raised in the lecture portion of the tutorial. In order to be successful in the tutorial sessions, students will be required to engage with material posted on our LEARN site in advance of the tutorial sessions. This may mean watching a video, following some instructions or reading an article before class. These materials will be chosen carefully and will allow us to make the most of the time we have together in class for activities, collaboration and putting what we have learned into practice.
• To get the most from the group work and ensuing discussions, it is strongly encouraged that tutorials are attended in-person
• Check university website for times and rooms in case of changes.

Check university website for times and rooms in case of changes. Students need to prepare in advance for the labs. The BIOL313 laboratory work will consist of a student-driven microbiology research project. The project will involve enriching and isolating a bacterium, archaeon or microeukaryote, identifying the isolated via molecular methods, and then describing the morphological, metabolic and phenotypic characteristics. Assessment will be via a final research-article styled report.

Please note that attendance of all laboratories is compulsory.

This course is supported by LEARN. You will find electronic copies of lecture notes and other material distributed solely by this method. Please also note that written work will be requested in hard copy (for grading) and electronic form (for assessment of originality using Turnitin).  Instructions will be given on how you do this via LEARN.  The course is attempting to be as environmentally friendly as possible, so you will receive a minimum of ‘paper’ handouts.

Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Heather Hendrickson


Matthew Stott and Ian Dickie

Lab Technician

Craig Galilee


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Final exam 17%
Laboratory Research Project 49%
Test 1 17%
Test 2 17%

Textbooks / Resources

Required Texts

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

Recommended Reading

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

Course links

Course Outline

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $951.00

International fee $4,750.00

* 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 BIOL313 Occurrences

  • BIOL313-23S2 (C) Semester Two 2023