Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita e dell'Ambiente - Guida degli insegnamenti (Syllabus)
Basic knowledge of biochemistry, cytology, genetics and general microbiology
Theoretical lessons (6 CFU, 48 hours) and practical activities (1 CFU, 8 hours)
At the end of the course students will have to know metabolic and physiological features of the main taxonomic groups of marine microrganisms; they will also have to know the adaptative and survival strategies of marine bacteria, the fundamental role of microbes in marine ecosystem and the interactions between particular microbial species and the environment/marine organisms. Students will develop knowledge about pathogenicity mechanisms of some important human and/or fish pathogens and they will also learn to describe the main principles of methodology to be used in marine microbial communities study and in bacterial detection from sea-water samples.
Ability to apply the knowledge:
The student will also acquire the ability to perform basic microbiological analysis of seawater samples: determination of the microbial abundances, determination of fecal contamination of water by enumeration techniques and identification of faecal indicator bacteria, isolation and identification of native bacterial species, such as vibrios.
Performing laboratory analysis in a teamwork will improve cooperativity and communication skills of students.
Marine environment: general features and microbial communities. Distribution of the microbial populations in the marine habitats. The microbial loop and microbial food web. Role of microrganisms in the ocean processes and in sulphur-, nitrogen- and carbon- cycle. Mechanisms of energy production among oligotrophic bacteria.
Principles of microbial taxonomy and methods to study microbial evolution. The main marine taxonomic groups of Bacteria. Photosynthetic bacteria, prochlorophytes and cyanobacteria, strategies and evolution of the most abundant photosynthetic bacteria in the oceans, microbial spheres and gliding motility in cyanobacteria. Toxic cyanobacteria and related harmful algal blooms. Chemoheterotrophs bacteria among marine proteobacteria, bacteria of the genus Pseudoalteromonas, Aeromonas and Vibrio, the Roseobacter group. Marine heterotrophs bacteria adapted to an oligotrophic lifestyle. Marine microbes as pathogens of humans and fishes and mechanisms of their pathogenicity. Structural features of Archaea and main groups and species of Archaea of oceans. The hyperthermophiles and halofiles, the methanogens. Hydrothermal vents community and black smokers. Survival strategies of marine hyperthermophiles and psychrophiles. Marine virus and their role in the prokaryotic biodiversity. Sampling methods and detection of marine microrganisms. Culture-based and culture-independent methods for the detection and identification of marine microbes. Interaction of microrganisms with marine environment, the chemotaxis, bacterial movement in aqueous environmental, adhesion and colonization of surfaces, biofilm formation. Air-water interface, bacterioneuston and hydrocarbon-degrading marine bacteria, sediment-planktonic interface and microbial mats. Interaction of microrganisms with other marine organisms, symbiotic associations. The quorum sensing mechanism, the biochemistry and biology of bacterial and dinoflagellata bioluminescence. Sewage seawater pollution and microbiological criteria for quality of coastal waters. Methods used for monitoring marine water quality.
During practical exercises the students will be able to perform microbiological analysis of sea-water samples: determination of fecal pollution by membrane filtration method and Most Probable Number technique; determination of the microbial abundances by culture-based methods; detection, isolation and identification of vibrios.
Methods for assessing learning outcomes:
Oral examination consisting of three questions on the different topic areas of the course, including the methodologies.
Methods for assessing learning outcomes:
The student should be able to demonstrate to have acquired a good knowledge of the marine microbial diversity and of the techniques used in the study of marine microrganisms.
Criteria for measuring learning outcomes:
The examination mark is expressed as a whole number from 18 up to and including 30. 30 Cum laude could also be assigned to the most worthy students.
Criteria for conferring final mark:
The final examination mark is based on the ability of the student to give a clear and accurate account of the subject, to marshal arguments in a mature way, using appropriate scientific language.
Class notes provided by the lecturer
Madigan, Martinko, Bender, Buckley, Stahl, "Brock biologia dei microrganismi", Pearson, 14a edizione, 2016.
Colin Munn - Marine Microbiology: ecology and applications – Garland Science, Taylor & Francis Group, 2nd edition (2011)