2019-2020 / OCEA0093-1

Molecular approaches to the diversity of marine microorganisms


15h Th, 15h Pr

Number of credits

 Master in oceanography (120 ECTS)3 crédits 


Annick Wilmotte

Language(s) of instruction

English language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the first semester, review in January


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

About 20 years ago, it became apparent that the study of the diversity of marine microorganisms cannot be conducted without a molecular approach, given that only a fraction of them can be isolated and cultured. In addition, as for the microorganisms that can be observed through a microscope, genetic diversity is larger than that which is determined on the basis of phenotypical characteristics (morphology....). The determination of diversity at the genetic level also allows us to understand ecological characteristics (geographical distribution, endemism, etc.).

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

To give to the students the knowledge that will allow them, on one hand, to understand and read in a critical manner the literature concerning the diversity of marine microorganisms, and on the other hand, to use molecular techniques in order to solve problems concerning the molecular diversity and ecology on which they may be working (master thesis, PhD, etc).

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

Having basic knowledge of genetic material: DNA, RNA, proteins. If this prerequisite is not met, part of the course may be devoted to a review.

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

Practical work in a laboratory on a small problem involving diversity of marine microorganisms (often cyanobacteria) or oral presentation of a paper.

Mode of delivery (face-to-face ; distance-learning)

Face-to-face teaching, in 2nd semester 1) Definitions 2) Why? 3) Molecular markers of diversity 4) Molecular techniques 5) Phylogenetic analyses 6) How the genetic diversity is generated? 7) Examples of applications in molecular microbial ecology 8) Presentation of an article by students

Recommended or required readings

Copies of transparencies used in class

Assessment methods and criteria

1) Presentation of an article or report of laboratory work (if the student carries out a study in molecular diversity) 2) Exam on the theory

Work placement(s)

Organizational remarks


A. Wilmotte, CIP, Chimie B6,
Phone : 04/366.38.56,
e-mail : awilmotte@ulg.ac.be