PhD Courses in Denmark

Aquatic Microbial and Molecular Ecology

The PhD School at the Faculty of Science at the University of Southern Denmark

04005301 (former UVA) is identical with this course description.
Pris / Price: 10.900 kr. (med logi); 7900 kr. (uden logi)

For more information on the course, please see:

 Entry requirements

PhD-student or Bachelor's degree in Biology.

 Academic preconditions

Students taking the course are expected to:

  • Have knowledge of basic ecology and microbial ecology
  • Be able to use basic laboratory equipment

The course is primarily for PhD students, but MSc students can also be accepted.

 Course introduction

The aim of the course is to enable the student to teach og do research on biogeochemical, molecular biological and microbial subjects, which is important with regard to conduct and communicate research in aquatic sediments.

The course builds on the knowledge acquired in courses on ecology and microbial ecology, and gives an academic and methodological basis for PhD and MSc students to conduct qualified research on the subject.


In relation to the competence profile of the degree it is the explicit focus of the course to:

  • Give the competence to conduct biogeochemical, molecular biological and microbial research on aquatic sediments 
  • Give skills to conduct qualified laboratory work with advanced research equipment
  • Give knowledge and understanding of the most recent research within biogeochemistry and microbiology of sediments.

 Expected learning outcome

The learning objectives of the course are that the student demonstrates the ability to:

  • Discuss the systematics and evolution of microorganisms
  • Define the most common concepts used in biogeochemistry and molecular ecology
  • Hypothesize about the function of microorganisms in biological systems
  • Discuss the role of microorganisms for biogeochemical cycles
  • Discuss how the techniques of molecular biology and bioinformatics can be used to investigate the occurrence and activity of microbes in aquatic environments
  • Employ standard biogeochemical and molecular ecological methods in studies of aquatic sediments
  • Evaluate and discuss the validity and meaning of results from biogeochemical and molecular biological studies of aquatic sediments


The following main topics are contained in the

  • Microbial diversity and evolution 
  • Interactions among microbial
    populations, development of communities and adaptation to environment
  • Characterization of microbial
    communities using molecular biological techniques
  • Microbial energetics related to
    processes like organic matter decomposition as well as oxygen, nitrate and
    sulfate respiration
  • Biogeochemical cycles in aquatic


Aquatic geomicrobiology - Eds Canfield, Thamdrup & Kristensen

See Blackboard for syllabus lists and additional literature references.

 Teaching Method

Activities in the study phase:

  • Data handling in teams
  • Report writing in teams

Since it is an international PhD course, the teaching will be focused over an intensive 3-week period in August. Report writing will occur during the fall semester.