BIOL456-21S2 (C) Semester Two 2021

Dynamics of Microbiological Interactions

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


Microbiological interactions impact on almost every aspect of biology, from plant nutrient uptake and photosynthesis to animal digestion to ecosystem function. We will explore the intimate interactions of microorganisms with plants and animals, and other microorganisms. We consider a range of microorganisms, including bacteria, oomycetes, fungi, and archaea. You will develop skills in evaluating how molecular, ecological, biochemical and synthetic community approaches contribute to our understanding of microorganisms and their myriad interactions.

To be successful in this course, we expect that you have undertaken some  microbiology coursework at least to the 200 level. If you haven't had 300 level microbiology, we advise discussing the course with the course coordinator before enrolling. Recommended preparatory course(s): at least one of BIOL313, BIOL332, BIOL333, BIOL334, and/or 460 or equivalents. Experience in ecology would be helpful.

This course covers aspects of biological interactions involving bacteria, fungi, oomycetes and other cryptic biota, spanning the scales of molecules to global patterns.

Most of your learning will take place outside of the classroom. The expectation of a 400 level, 15 point course is that an average student will spend 150 hours on the course, only 12 of which are in seminar. You will need to coordinate and attend group meetings outside of normal class hours in order to complete assignments.

Learning Outcomes

As a student in this course I will develop:
● An understanding of the science as a collaborative process, particularly focussing on critical review skills (seminar discussions, collaborative report writing; GP2),
● A sophisticated understanding of experimental design and methodology (seminar discussions; GP1),
● Core knowledge of microbiological interactions (report writing, exam; GP1)
● Science and communication skills (report writing; GP2)
● Understanding of Vision Mātauranga as applied to research (report writing; GP3)

Pūkenga Ngaio | Transferable Skills

● I can review complex research areas, evaluate that research, and provide a useful interpretation of that information (GP1, GP2),
● I am able to participate and lead groups in collaborative writing (GP 2),
● I can discuss Vision Mātauranga as relevant to reviewing scientific research (GP3).


Subject to approval of the Head of School. RP: At least one of BIOL313, BIOL332-335, BIOL352, BIOL455, BIOL460, and/or BCHM305.



Recommended Preparation

At least one of BIOL313, BIOL332-335, BIOL352, BIOL455, BIOL460, and/or BCHM305.

Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Ian Dickie

Guest Lecturer

Dr Manpreet Dhami (Landcare Research)


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Review 35%
Review 35%
Exam 30%

Course links

Course Outline

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $1,066.00

* 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 BIOL456 Occurrences

  • BIOL456-21S2 (C) Semester Two 2021