GEOSCI/ENVIRON/BIOLOGY (100 level) The Microbial World: How ...

dactylonomyskittlesBiotechnology

Feb 12, 2013 (4 years and 8 months ago)

135 views


GEOSCI/ENVIRON/BIOLOGY (100 level)

The Microbial W
orld
: How Unseen Organisms
Shape Our Planet

(4 cr)



Prereqs:

none.

Short c
ourse description

This course
examines how microorganisms
shape the world around us, both throughout the
Earth’s history and today
.

Major topics include the origin and evolution of life, the interplay
between microbes and the environment,
roles of microbes in global warming,
and applications of
microbio
logy in biotechnology and energy.


Long description

This course seeks to introduc
e students to the critical
yet commonly overlooked
roles that tiny,
unseen organisms play in environmental, global, and human health.
The common theme will be
in

examining

how

microorganisms shape the world around us, both throughou
t the Earth’s

history a
nd today.


Specific topics to be covered

include
the

origin and evolution of life, the
interplay between microbes and the environment, and

current topics in
biotechnology,
energy
,
global warming,

and the environment.

Emphasis will be placed on considering

science to be of
tangible and practical importance to modern society.


Discussion sessions will allow for discussion of topics covered in lecture, exercises aimed at
reinforcing primary concepts and methods, and review of exams and quizzes.
Grades will
be
based on regular
quizzes, one midterm exam, a final exam, and
discussion participation.


This course is primarily intende
d for non
-
science majors.


S
tudents with interest
s

in evolution,
environmental science,
and
current

controversial
topics such as the

origin of life, global climate
change, and biotechnology are encouraged to enroll.


Textbook:

Brock Biology of Microorganisms, 11
th

edition, by Michael Madigan and John
Martinko



Syllabus:


Part I.


INTRODUCTION
:

This section will provide a broad int
roduction to microbiology that
will serve as a foundation for
understanding material presented in
parts II through IV. Lectures 1
and 2 will outline the scope of the course, introduce students to the pervasive and
ubiquitous

nature of microbes on our plan
et, and
provide material

aimed at building an appreciation for the
scales and metrics (both physical and temporal) that are pertinent to geology and microbiology.
Lectures 3 through 6 entail a basic introduction to micro
bial physiology and metabolism and
will
highlight

how the biological requirements of microbes are linked to the impact that they have on
their environment.


1.

Course o
verview

2.

Introduction to microbiology: h
istor
y,
scales
, & taxonomy

3.

Microbial physiology

4.

M
etabolism

I

5.

Metabolism II

6.

Metabolis
m III



Part II.
THE COEVOLUTION OF EARTH AND LIFE
:

Part II will focus on the
coevolution of the biosphere and geosphere.
Lecture 7 will cover theories of the origin and early
history of life on Earth, including

a critical review

of
current evidence and

controversies
supporting
and surrounding
these theories.

Lectures 8


10 present concepts of biological
diversity, methods for assessing phylogenetic relationships among organisms, and
an
examination of how

that has led the current view of
the tree of li
fe. Lectures

11 and 12 will
highlight the central role of microbes in major events throughout Earth’
s history such as

the
oxygenation of the atmosphere and formation of geological deposits.



7.

The Origin and ea
rly evolution of life on Earth

8.

The tree of li
fe

I

9.

The tree of life II

10.

The tree of life III

11.

Microbes and Earth History

12.

Geomicrobiology: how and why microbes make and dissolve rocks


Part III. ENVIRONMENTAL MICROBIOLOGY &
MICROBIAL ECOLOGY
:

Part III
surveys microorganisms in their natural habitats wi
th an emphasis on the interplay between
organism and environment. Lectures 13 and 14 introduce the methods and fundamentals

that
encompass the
study of microbes in the nature
. Lectures 15


21

provide case studies for
examining these principles of micro
b
ial ecology, from marine,
terrestrial
, and atmospheric

environments to symbioses between microbe
s and higher organisms. Lecture 19 will address
how
microbiological
processes
(covered in lectures 15


18)
th
at take place on
molecular scales
have important
impacts on global scales. In lectures 22 and 23 the limits of life (physical and
energetic) on Earth will be explored and implications in terms of the prospects and search for life
on other planets will be reviewed.


13.

The tools of
environmental
microbi
ology

14.

Microbial ecology &
communities

15.

Marine microbiology

I

16.

Marine microbiol
ogy II


17.

Atmospheric and freshwater microbiology:
air,
lakes, ponds, & streams

18.

Terrestrial environments

19.

Microbes & global climate change

20.

Symbioses


21.

Humans as symbiotic hosts:
micro
bes in health

& disease

22.

Life in extreme environments

23.

Astrobiology


Part IV.
APPLIED MICROBIOLOGY
:

Part IV surveys applied
and biotechnological
aspects
of
the microbial world

in the con
text of challenges associated with
human
population growth,
emerging i
nfectious
disease, energy, and the environment
.

Lecture 24 covers the challenges and
opportunities that microbes bring to t
he impact of human activities on

the environment
, including
bioremediation of organic and metal pollution
.

Lecture 25 reviews

the m
icrobiology of food and
beverage production, both throughout history and in
the modern food industry. Lecture 26
addresses the broad applications of microbes in drug discove
ry, industry, and biotechnology, and

in lecture 27 these applications are extended

to the current crisis revolving around energy and
global warming. Lecture 28 will synthesize principles covered throughout the course, and broad
conclusions regarding the microbial world will be drawn.

24.

Corrosion
, bio
-
fouling, & bioremediation

25.

The micr
obiology of food & beverage

26.

Pharmaceutical & industrial m
icrobiology
; biotechnology

27.

Microbes & the energy crisis

28.

Review, Synthesis, & Conclusions