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Microbial Evolution & Ecology


Admission requirements

Basic knowledge of microbiology, molecular biology and/or ecology

Contact information

Coordinator: Prof.dr. G.P. van Wezel, Dr. E. Vijgenboom


The course covers various aspects of the important role of microorganisms in their ecosystems. This includes the role of bacteria and fungi in the functioning of terrestrial ecosystems, the interactions and communications among microbes and with plants, 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. The course also teaches modern, genomics approaches to detect the diversity of microbial communities. Specialists in the 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.

Learning goals

Course objectives:
To gain further knowledge about the important role of microorganisms in various ecosystems, to gain knowledge about the different ways how microorganisms interact with each other or with plants or animals. Get acquainted with techniques to analyze and quantify the composition of complex ecosystems.

Final qualifications:

  • The student has learnt about the role of microorganism in their ecosystem.

  • The student and is aware of the complexity of the interactions and has gained knowledge to study this.

  • The student has learnt about the different mechanisms on how these interactions are accomplished and evolved.


From 29 April 2013 to 24 May 2013, see Blackboard for detailed schedule.

Mode of instruction

Lectures, theoretical exercises (poster/literature review) and practical work

Assessment method

Written exam, assessment of poster, essay and report.


Blackboard will be used

Reading list

Madigan et al Brock Biology of Microorganisms, Prentice Hall International Inc., 12e ed. 2009 or 13e ed 2011.