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Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2011 Undergraduate - Unit

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

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Science
OfferedGippsland Second semester 2011 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Alan Howgrave-Graham (Gippsland); Dr Adeline Ting (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)

Ms Jenny Mosse

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