Microbial ecology and environmental microbiology are interrelated fields. Microbial ecology is the study of interactions between microbes and the environment - including those between microbes and higher organisms and those between the microbes themselves within a community. Environmental microbiology encompasses many of the applied fields such as water and
wastewater microbiology, biomining, and bioremediation (biodegradation of pollutants). Microbes are very important in the environment - the world would rapidly become littered with dead plants and animals without the process of microbial decomposition! Also, several steps in the cycling of nutrients (such as carbon, nitrogen and sulfur) are carried out largely -
or even solely - by microorganisms. The International Society of Microbial Ecology (ISME) maintains a web site
which goes into more detail about "what is microbial ecology" and the broad number of topics it encompasses .
Soil microbiology class
Biofilms: Online Manual presented by the American Society for Microbiology
This manual is a collection of exercises from various sources that are intended to help illustrate the formation and properties of microbial biofilms. Includes exercises ranging from simple like "Microbial fishing" and "Growth of dental plaque in vitro" to more complicated exercises like "Leaching of Copper Ore with Thiobacillus ferrooxidans".
A couple of water samples that have been fluorescently stained
This course site contains an animation page which allows you to download movies on subjects like the N cycle, the rhizosphere and oxygenic and anoxygenic photosynthesis
Biofilms: the Movies
Other cool sites
Digital Learning Center for Microbial Ecology
Environmental Aspects of Microbiology. This site covers a range of topics from Winogradsky columns to biogeochemical cycling to biodegradation and bioremediation. http://science.ntu.ac.uk/life/staff/sjf/home/EnvMicro.html