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Marine microbial ecology: from genomes to biomes

  • 15 credits

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 new course offered this fall 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 2020

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 wether 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Your seat may be withdrawn if you do not register according to the instructions provided by your department.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 the Department of Biological Education! We are happy to be part of your student experience and contribute to your future success.

In order to get you off to a good start, we have gathered the important things you need to know here. Read through carefully and if you have any questions, please contact us.
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. In good time before registration, you must check if you are qualified with conditions. If you have conditions you cannot register. If you do not want the place, however, it is important that you submit a rebate as soon as possible, so that someone else can get the chance to go the course.

Starting in the autumn term, we will make a partial return to campus-based teaching, to the degree possible. Compulsory teaching will to a large extent be given on campus, adapted according to the guidelines of the Public Health Authority. Parts of the teaching will be given online to reduce the spread of infection. Read more about the teaching at BIG in autumn 2020.

Eligible with conditions

If you did not meet all the eligibility requirements for the course when you applied then you are eligible with conditions. It is stated in your acceptance letter from if you are eligible with conditions. In that case, you cannot register as the department must first assess your eligibility.

Check the requirements under "Eligibility" here on the course page. To qualify, all requirements must be documented in University admissions and/or Ladok.

As soon as you meet the requirements, send a message to with the following information:

  • Subject line: Terms
  • Your name
  • Which course(s) you are admitted to

If you have questions about your condition, you can contact the study counsellor.

Read about eligibility


Our courses generally apply online registration (for internships and research internships, see below). To be able to register online, your student account must be activated and any conditions assessed. In order to maintain your place on the course, you must register within the registration period.

Please note that most courses start with a compulsory roll call, see the schedule here on the courses page for more details.

Registration periods in autumn 2020:

  • Registration for all courses opens August 25th.
  • For courses beginning August 31, registration closes August 30.
  • For courses that start later in the semester, registration closes one week before the course starts.
  • Degree projects at the advanced level are open for registration throughout the semester.

If you have trouble registering, please contact our student office before the last registration day.

Register online

Traineeship and research traineeship

If you have been accepted or placed as a reserve in one of our traineeship or research traineeship courses, you should contact the examiner for the course (see "Course structure" on this page), you will then receive a template for writing a work plan. Once you have written the work plan and had it approved by the examiner, we will register you on the course (no online registration). Do not forget to check that you meet any conditions (see "Eligible with conditions" above).

Studying with a disability

If you need special pedagogical support, you can apply for support measurs. You should apply as soon as possible after you have been admitted to take advantage of the best possible support.

Read how to apply for support

Once you have your Nais certificate, contact the study counsellor for a meeting where we will go through the support measured. After the meeting, you should contact the course coordinators for the courses you will attend and inform them that you have been granted support, so that they can prepare well.

Declining your place

If you no longer want your place, it is important that you decline your place so that another applicant can get the place. Please note that you can only decline your place at before the registration period begins. After the course has opened for registration and three weeks after the course has started, you can decline in Ladok. Declining the place later than three weeks after the start of the course is counted as having dropped the course.

Declining your place at

Reserve place

If you have been given a reserve place you may be admitted if someone declines their place. Reserve admission mainly takes place in connection with the roll call on the first day of the course. If there is cause for reserve admission then you will receive notice one to two weeks before the course starts. For traineeships or research traineeships see more information above.

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


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

    After taking the course, students can 1) distinguish between the three domains of life: Archaea, Bacteria, and Eukarya, 2) identify how microbial processes mediate major biogeochemical cycles (C, N, P, Fe, S) in various habitats (sediments, water column, deep biosphere) as well as in various microbiomes (e.g. guts of marine animals), 3) identify the major drivers of marine microbial diversity, and 4) apply classical methods and/or new modern molecular based approaches for solving basic microbial ecology research questions.


    Examination includes: weekly written 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