431 Special Topics in Biological Oceanography

Microbes dominate every major ecosystem on Earth, including the oceans. They are essential components of marine food webs and are responsible for maintaining the chemical reservoirs that enable life's processes to proceed. This course will focus on the roles of marine bacteria, archaea and the viruses that infect them. Students will read papers from the primary literature, perform computational analyses relevant to the study of microbes and microbial communities, and learn about the diversity of single celled organisms, their roles in different ecosystems, and about how they catalyze the breadth of chemical transformations that make life possible.  Much of the focus is on model microorganisms from marine systems, but the course will also include topics covering other extreme environments, evolution and some elements of astrobiology.