Marine Microbes

Lecturers: Gunter Wegener


The course is designed to explain principles in microbiology including cellular structure, physiology and ecology. It provides an overview about the diversity and function of mircoorganisms in the marine environment and how they catalyse essential processes in the elemental cycling of carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and sulfur. Specific biogeochemically relevant processes such as aerobic oxidation of ammonium and anaerobic oxidation of methane will be discussed in more detail.


At the end of this course the student will be able to:
a) understand general aspects on the cellular structure and function of microorganisms
b) describe principles in microbial physiology in particular the energy metabolism and carbon assimilation
c) discuss the ecological role of relevant microorganisms and their contribution to the marine biogeochemical cycles


Oral exam focusing on all three course topics offered in the module (30 min).

Exam Form:

mündliche Prüfung


Madigan, M.T., Bender, K.S., Buckley, D.H., Sattley, W.M. and Stahl, D.A. (2017) Brock biology of microorganisms.
Canfield, D.E., Kristensen, E., and Thamdrup, B. (2005) Aquatic Geomicrobiology.


1st SWS: Introducing microorganisms I (from cell shape to phylogeny)
2nd SWS: Introducing microorganisms II (electron acceptor/donor, energy gain)
3rd SWS: Photosynthesis (from macroalgae to bacteria, light dependence, photosystems)
4th SWS: Heterotrophic microorganisms (coupling to oxic respiration)
5th SWS: Fermentation (products, interaction with other organisms/syntrophy)
6th SWS: Ammonium-oxidizing/N-cycling microorganisms
7th SWS: Sulfate-reducing microorganisms
8th SWS: Teaching day
9th SWS: Metal (Fe/Mn) cycling microorganisms
10th SWS: Methanogenesis (organisms, substrates)
11th SWS: The anaerobic oxidation of methane (reaction, ANME archaea, microbial consortia)
12th SWS: Hyrocarbon-degrading microorganisms (including aerobic methane oxidation)
13th SWS: New microorganisms (e.g. cable bacteria)
14th SWS: Open discussion