BIOL213-19S2 (C) Semester Two 2019

Microbiology and Genetics

15 points
Start Date: Monday, 15 July 2019
End Date: Sunday, 10 November 2019
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Friday, 26 July 2019
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 27 September 2019


An introduction to the fundamental principles of microbiology and microbial genetics.

Is there anything that microorganisms cannot do? Microorganisms are the foundation of all of Earth’s ecosystems.

They mediate innumerable interactions with humans, plants, animals, and each other. They can be found in the deepest subsurface sediments to boiling hot springs to the tips of the atmosphere, and we make use of them from everything from food production to drug production.

This course provides focussed introductory learning on microorganisms, microbial activity and the roles microorganisms play from the molecular to the global scale.

You will learn about microbial genetics, metabolism, host-microbe interactions and global microbe-ecosystem interactions.

During the lectures and the labs, topics covered include the gut microbiome, fermentation & food microbiology, geomicrobiology, plant-microbial interactions including disease and biocontrol, microbial coexistence and competition, and the microbiology of extreme environments.

The laboratory component of this course has an emphasis on mastering practical microbiology skills such as aseptic technique, experimental design and planning, and methods for controlling microbial growth.

The course also includes a field trip as part of the laboratory schedule.

The learning and laboratories skills in this course are essential for third year Advanced Microbiology (BIOL313), and third year molecular biology and biochemistry courses.

Learning Outcomes

  • At the end of the course, students will:
  • Have a broad understanding and knowledge of microbiology in society and in ecosystems, and why microbiology is important at all scales (assessment tasks: final exam, laboratory pre- and post-worksheets, assignment)
  • Master methods for studying microbes safely (assessment task: laboratory worksheets).
  • Understand and interpret experimental evidence, and how to develop a hypothesis (assessment task: Final exam, laboratory worksheets).
  • Understand key methods of handling and using microorganisms in the laboratory (assessment tasks: final exam, laboratory pre- and post-worksheets, assignment)
  • Be competent in experimental design and the use of mathematics and chemistry in microbiology (assessment tasks: prerequisite test, laboratory pre- and post-worksheets)
  • Isolate and subculture a bacterial strain (assessment task: lab assessment)
  • Have core microbiology knowledge. These will include:
    o microbial genetics
    o microbial metabolism
    o microbial detection and control
    o human microbiome and disease
    o microorganism-host interactions
    o geomicrobiological ecosystem and biogeochemical cycles
    o microbes in biotechnology and microbial monitoring

    Skills register
    The following skills are developed in this course:
  • Core microbiology wet-laboratory skills (Important for careers that include lab work):
    o Aseptic techniques
    o Experimental design
    o Experimental data analysis and interpretation
  • Work safely in a molecular lab and comply with PC2 containment regulation (Important for careers that include lab work).
  • Independent and self-motivated learning. A life-skill that is important in any career.
  • Finding, understanding, and using information in literature and on the internet. These are very general skills that are essential in many careers.
  • Written and oral communication. Many employers require employees to have good communication skills.


Timetable 2019

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Tuesday 12:00 - 13:00 Putaiao Koiora 275 15 Jul - 25 Aug
9 Sep - 20 Oct
Lecture B
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Thursday 13:00 - 14:00 A6 Lecture Theatre 15 Jul - 25 Aug
9 Sep - 20 Oct
Lecture C
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Friday 12:00 - 13:00 Meremere 105 Lecture Theatre 19 Aug - 25 Aug
Lab A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Tuesday 14:00 - 18:00 Putaiao Koiora 463 9 Sep - 20 Oct
02 Thursday 14:00 - 18:00 Putaiao Koiora 463 9 Sep - 20 Oct
Tutorial A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Tuesday 18:00 - 20:00 Ernest Rutherford 460 22 Jul - 4 Aug

Timetable Note

Labs run dis-continuously, see MyTimetable for occurrence details. For any changes in lab allocation please contact the lab technician: Craig Galilee

It is compulsory to wear a lab coat in the laboratory and can be purchased at the beginning of the year.

Where to purchase your lab coats and safety glasses


To purchase: buy a receipt from the Copy Centre, 2nd floor, Puaka-James Hight building, (payment by eftpos and credit card only – lab coats $32, glasses $10), 9.00 am - 4.00 pm, Monday to Friday.

Receipts may then be exchanged in the atrium inside the southern entry to the Ernest Rutherford Building, 8.30 – 10 am and 1.30 – 2.30 pm, Monday to Friday for the first two weeks of the semester.

After the first two weeks they can be collected from Ernest Rutherford Room 130 (Chemical Store).

Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Matthew Stott


Ian Dickie and Mitja Remus-Emsermann

Lab Technician

Craig Galilee


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Academic skills test 5%
Final Exam 40%
Post-laboratory worksheets 15%
Pre-laboratory worksheets 20%
Assignment 08 Sep 2019 20%

* Attendance at labs is compulsory (unless you have a medical certificate). To gain a pass in this course a student must achieve a mark of 50% overall plus achieve an average of at least 40% in both laboratory assessments and written tests/examination. The laboratory practical covers six weeks, one day/week. Students repeating this course will be exempt from labs with the approval of the course co-ordinator.

Textbooks / Resources

Required Texts

Madigan, Michael T.,1949- et al; Brock biology of microorganisms; Fourteenth edition, Global edition; Pearson, 2015.

Recommended Reading

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

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $883.00

International fee $4,000.00

* Fees include New Zealand GST and do not include any programme level discount or additional course related expenses.

For further information see School of Biological Sciences.

All BIOL213 Occurrences

  • BIOL213-19S2 (C) Semester Two 2019