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Marine microbial ecology: from genomes to biomes

Have you ever wondered why the ocean is blue? How life evolved? How elements cycle in the sea? Or maybe, why the ocean buffers our human activities? This course aims to tackle these questions and much more. The course will cover broadly aquatic microbial diversity and the role of microbes in the environment.

Information for admitted students Autumn 2023

Congratulations! You have been admitted at Stockholm University and we hope that you will enjoy your studies with us.

In order to ensure that your studies begin as smoothly as possible we have compiled a short checklist for the beginning of the semester.

Follow the instructions on whether you have to reply to your offer or not.


Checklist for admitted students

  1. Activate your university account

    The first step in being able to register and gain access to all the university's IT services.

  2. Register at your department

    Registration can be done in different ways. Read the instructions from your department below.

  3. Read all the information on this page

    Here you will find what you need to know before your course or programme starts.


Your seat may be withdrawn if you do not register according to the instructions provided by your department.

Information from the department - courses

Welcome to autumn term 2023 at BIG! Open here, read and let us know if you have any questions.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you are registered on the correct course. If you do not register then your place can go to a reserve. However, it is important that you only register on courses that you do intend to take, or you are taking a place from another student.

Registration period for autumn 2023

Note! In order for us to efficiently be able to help all students, before registering make sure to carefully read our information to admitted students.

  • Registration for all courses opens 7th August and closes Sunday about a week before the course starts (all courses close temporarily 18th August, courses starting period b to D will reopen a few days later).
  • Traineeships, research traineeships and degree projects are open for registration throughout the semester (see more information in the link above).

If you have trouble registering, please contact our student office latest on the last registration day. Otherwise you will loose your place on the course.

Register online

Reserve place

If you have been given a reserve place you may be admitted if someone declines their place. In which case you must confirm that you want the place by attending the reserve roll call for each course. For traineeships, research traineeships and degre projects see more information in the link above.

Read about reserve roll call

More information about your studies with us

On our website you will find more information about your studies with us.

Welcome activities

Stockholm University organises a series of welcome activities that stretch over a few weeks at the beginning of each semester. The programme is voluntary (attendance is optional) and includes Arrival Service at the airport and an Orientation Day, see more details about these events below.
Your department may also organise activities for welcoming international students. More information will be provided by your specific department. 

Find your way on campus

Stockholm University's main campus is in the Frescati area, north of the city centre. While most of our departments and offices are located here, there are also campus areas in other parts of the city.

Find your way on campus

Read more

New student

During your studies

Student unions

For new international students

Pre-departure information

New in Sweden

Light micrograph of plankton by course coordinator, Rachel A Foster

This course is designed to cover broadly aquatic microbial diversity and role of microbes in the environment. Environments include aquatic, benthic (sediments), and microbiomes. Microbial populations include representatives from the three domains of life: Archaea, Bacteria, Eukarya. The diverse nature of microbial populations will be studied and includes the morphology, genetic, and metabolic diversity. Additionally, a review of both classical and modern methods utilized in studying aquatic microbial ecology will be presented in case study examples and laboratory exercises. An emphasis on understanding the limitations, caveats, and necessary controls for methods will be covered.

Both theory and practical exercises cover the most recent findings of the field while also providing practical hands on experience and training in classic and modern approaches.

  • Course structure

    Teaching format

    The education for the course consists of lectures, weekly guest research talks from international experts in the field, in class discussion exercises, tutorials, lab exercises, and independent reading.

    Learning outcomes

    A list of the learning outcomes can be found in the syllabus. Please find the link to the syllabus on the right side of this page.


    Examination includes: quizzes, oral paper presentations, lab exercises including occasional written lab reports, class and tutorial participation, guest research talks from international experts and discussions, and 2 written exams.


    Rachel Foster


  • Schedule

    The schedule will be available no later than one month before the start of the course. We do not recommend print-outs as changes can occur. At the start of the course, your department will advise where you can find your schedule during the course.
  • Course literature

    Note that the course literature can be changed up to two months before the start of the course.

    There is no textbook for the course. Suggested and required readings will be listed on the course website on Athena and should be read prior to the lecture. Other suggested readings include the online book: Gasol and Kirchman 2018 Microbial Ecology of the Oceans 3rd Edition.

    These are not assigned but useful as a reference:

    Brock Biology of Microorganisms, 15th Edition, Michael T Madigan et al.

    Marine Microbiology Ecology & Applications, 2nd edition, Colin Munn

  • Contact

    Student office
    Study counsellor for advanced level