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Microbial Evolution & Ecology


Admission requirements

Basic knowledge of microbiology, molecular biology and/or ecology

Contact information

Coordinator: Dr. D. Rozen


The course covers various aspects of the important role of microorganisms in their natural environments. This includes the role of bacteria and fungi in the functioning of terrestrial ecosystems, the interactions and communication among microbes and with plant and animal hosts, the role of microorganisms in food chains as well as microbial aspects of nutrient cycles and environmental pollution, antagonist-plant pathogens interactions at the molecular and cellular levels, and the evolutionary aspects of diversification and community interactions. Using a combination of lectures and practicals the course also teaches modern approaches to detect and understand the causes of diversity of microbial communities. Specialists in various fields of microbial evolution and ecology, both scientists from the IBL but also guest speakers from other universities and research institutes will contribute to the course lectures.

Learning goals

Course objectives:

  • To gain further knowledge about the important role and evolution of microorganisms in diverse natural systems, to gain knowledge about the mechanisms by which microorganisms interact with each other or with plants or animals.

  • To become acquainted with techniques to analyze and quantify the composition of complex ecosystems.

  • To understand evolutionary processes contributing to community diversity and dynamics.

Final qualifications:

  • The student has learnt about the role of microorganism in natural ecosystems.

  • The student is aware of the complexity of these interactions and has gained detailed knowledge of how these interactions are studied.

  • The student has learnt about different evolutionary and ecological mechanisms to explain how these interactions evolved and are coordinated at a community level.


From 28 April 2014 to 23 May 2014, see Blackboard for detailed schedule.

Mode of instruction

Lectures over 2 weeks, theoretical exercises (poster/literature review) and practical work for 3.5 weeks. Lecture attendance is compulsory.

Assessment method

Written exam, assessment of poster, practical work and assessment of lab notebook.


Blackboard will be used

Reading list



Via USIS and enroll in Blackboard