Genomics of Microbial Diversity


Next time offered: Fall 2017.   One session weekly; W 3:05PM – 5:55PM; LSRC A312; 3 graduate units

Instructor: Jennifer Wernegreen

COURSE DESCRIPTION: In the past two decades, genomic research has uncovered a microbial world that is astonishingly diverse and ubiquitous. A deeper appreciation of microbial life is revolutionizing our understanding of life’s history, drivers of ecological processes, and even human health.   This graduate seminar explores the use of genomic approaches to illuminate microbial diversity and to clarify mechanisms generating variation within and among microbial lineages and communities.  The course is targeted to Ph.D. students in the areas of genomics, genetics, environmental sciences, ecology, and/or computational biology.  Discussions will focus on case studies from the primary literature, followed by computer labs allowing hands-on use of current programs.  Advanced undergraduates interested in taking the course should contact Jen (j.wernegreen [at] to discuss.


• Fundamental mechanisms generating variation in microbial genomes and communities.

• Biotic and abiotic factors that shape the structure and function of microbial communities.

• Evolutionary processes influencing microbial genome content and structure.

• Tools for studying microbial genomes and their functions, with an emphasis on ‘next-generation’ sequencing approaches.

• Community-level diversity analysis, including amplicon sequencing and metagenomics.

• Bioinformatic approaches, including hands-on use of current programs and interpretation of analyses.


Grades will be based on the following:

Participation in class-wide discussions – 65%;
Leading a case study discussion – 10%;
Final project presentation – 5%;
Final project paper – 20%.

The class has no exams.


FOR MORE INFO, including a draft syllabus, please contact Jen Wernegreen,  j.wernegreen [at ]
Previously offered as ENVIRON 799S – Topics in Ecological Genomics: Genomics of Microbial Diversity.