AB-327 Arctic Microbiology (10 ECTS)

Biofilmo

How to apply

ID:
AB-327
CREDITS:
10 ECTS
START DATE:
2 July 2018
END DATE:
3 August 2018
COURSE PERIOD:
Autumn semester (July–August), annually.
LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION AND EXAMINATION:
English
CREDIT REDUCTION/OVERLAP:
10 ECTS with AB-827
GRADE:
Letter grade (A through F)
COURSE MATERIAL:
Curriculum/reading list; Ca. 20 scientific papers
COURSE COSTS:
Fieldwork, NOK 200–400 (1–2 days x NOK 200 per overnight stay)
COURSE CAPACITY MIN/MAX:
10/20 students (AB-327/827 in total)
EXAMINATION SUPPORT MATERIAL:
Bilingual dictionary between English and mother tongue
APPLICATION DEADLINE:
15 February 2018

INSTRUCTORS:

Lise Øvreås
Lise Øvreås
Adjunct professor, microbiology

UNIS contact person: Anna Vader

Course requirements:

Enrolment in a relevant master programme in biology. Basic knowledge in microbiology and a completed bachelor programme in biology are required. Students within a relevant master programme in microbial ecology will be given preference.

Academic content:

The course aims to provide Master students in biology with a comprehensive introduction to processes and mechanisms in Arctic microbiology. Theory sessions will cover Arctic microbial biodiversity (viruses, bacteria, archae and eukaryotes), methods in Arctic microbiology (from classical microscopy, cultivation and physiology to modern biochemical, molecular and bioinformatics analyses), Arctic biogeochemistry and nutrient cycles (energy, metabolism, geomicrobiology, carbon and nitrogen cycling), Arctic microbial ecology (trophic structure, food webs, feeding relationships, energy transfers, colonization, establishment and evolution) and hot topics in Arctic microbiology (effects of climate change, environmental change, human impact, biogeography and microbial diseases).

Practical work is divided into three themes; detecting life at low levels, investigating new or unfamiliar Arctic environments and investigating selection pressures in a range of Arctic environments. Fieldwork is focused on the wide variety of habitats for microbial life in Svalbard; a marine section (using research vessels to provide experience with CTD measurements, marine sediment sampling and a fjord transect) and a terrestrial section (using Polar Circle and UNIS Minibus to access both inner and outer fjord soil, freshwater, snow, ice, glacier and acid mine drainage sites). In situ experiments are also conducted within easy reach of UNIS.

Learning outcomes:

Knowledge
Upon completing the course, the students can:

  • Understand the diversity of microbial life in the Arctic, forms, habitats types, interactions and limits
  • Know the factors which contribute to the growth and establishment of microorganisms in various cold environments
  • Be up-to-date with the current literature and research in Arctic Microbiology
  • Apply knowledge to new areas within Arctic microbiology

Skills
Upon completing the course, the students can:

  • Be familiar with laboratory techniques used in Arctic microbiology, and be aware of the methods’ limitations and scope
  • Investigate and be able to describe the interaction of Arctic microorganisms with each other and their living environment
  • Carry out independent research project under supervision and in accordance with applicable norms for research ethics

General competences
Upon completing the course, the students can:

  • Understand the role of microorganisms in nutrient and biogeochemical cycling and know how to make detailed measurements
  • Express an informed contribution to debate about the role of microorganisms in various environments
  • Appreciate the role Arctic microbiology can play in the key scientific challenges of today
  • Contribute to new thinking and innovation processes

Learning activities:

The course extends over five weeks including compulsory safety training, and is run in combination with AB-827.

Prior to the course the students must read primary literature that has been sent to them in advance, and they must prepare for seminars (approximately 1 week of full study). The complimentary lectures, field and laboratory work will strengthen knowledge and practical skills.  Experience will be gained of experimental design and field work in extreme environments. See “Academic content” for further presentation of learning activities.

Total lecture hours: 30 hours.
Laboratory work: 35 hours.
Fieldwork/ excursions: 6 days (may include an overnight stay at one of the field sites).

Compulsory learning activities:

Literature seminars, field excursions, laboratory work.
All compulsory learning activities must be approved in order to sit the exam.

Assessment:

Method
Percentage of final grade
Literature seminar presentation 20%
Written project report 70%
Oral presentation of report 10%

All assessments must be passed in order to pass the course.
Each assessment is graded, and subsequently combined into a single grade. Partial grades for each assessment will be available.

Application deadline: 15 February 2018

 

Students at Linnèvannet

AB-327/827 excursion to Linnévatnet. Photo: Lise Øvreås/UNIS

Student fieldwork on a glacier

AB-327/827 fieldwork on a glacier. Photo: Lise Øvreås/UNIS

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CONTACT INFO

The University Centre in Svalbard
Telephone: +47 79 02 33 00
Fax: +47 79 02 33 01
E-mail: post@unis.no / webmaster@unis.no
Address: P.O. Box 156 N-9171 Longyearbyen
Org. no. 985 204 454

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