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Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2010 Undergraduate - Unit

6 points, SCA Band 0 (NATIONAL PRIORITY), 0.125 EFTSL

FacultyFaculty of Science
OfferedGippsland Second semester 2010 (Day)
Gippsland Second semester 2010 (Off-campus)
Sunway Second semester 2010 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Alan Howgrave-Graham (Gippsland); Dr Anne Vaughan (Sunway)


This unit begins by examining the fundamental principles of microbial ecology and the basic methods used in this area. It then considers the role of micro-organisms in biogeochemical nutrient cycles. Some important natural habitats for micro-organisms such as air, fresh water and salt water are considered with the main discussion centred on soil. The roles of particular soil micro-organisms within their microenvironments are explained with special attention being given to micro-organisms involved in transformations of carbon and nitrogen. The role of micro-organisms in composting, the management of pollution and as agents of bioremediation is discussed.


On completion of this unit students will be able to: demonstrate the use of basic methods in this area, notably monitoring, enumeration and sampling; discuss basic principles in microbial ecology, recognizing the role of micro-organisms as a mixed flora, and illustrate examples of microbial interactions; diagram the role of micro-organisms in biogeochemical nutrient cycles; discuss the role of different micro-organisms in air, water environments, and soils, predicting what results are likely to happen to populations and their effects when environmental parameters are changed; describe how micro-organisms can cause pollution; apply the use of micro-organisms as indicators of pollution; discuss the role of micro-organisms in sewage treatment; discuss the role of micro-organisms in composting; describe how micro-organisms can be exploited in bioremediation.


Final written examination (3 hours): 60%
Laboratory reports: 30% +Assignment (2000 words) 10%. The laboratory reports comprise one major lab report worth 10%, and 5 smaller reports worth a total of 20%.

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Alan Howgrave-Graham

Contact hours

Three hours lecture and three hours laboratory per week

Off-campus attendance requirements

OCL students will attend a 5-day residential program (offered in even numbered years)


BTH2722 or both MIC2011 and GEN2041