Universität Wien
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300080 VO Symbiosis concepts and model systems (Part 2) (2018S)

3.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 30 - Biologie


Language: English

Examination dates



Friday, 10.15 -11.45 h
Seminar room Microbial Ecology, Room 2.309, UZA 1
First lecture 9.3.2018


Aims, contents and method of the course

Symbiosis is one of the driving forces in evolution. The eukaryotic cell and thus all plants, animals and fungi arose from a symbiosis between ancient prokaryotes and today, microbial symbioses dominate our planet.

This lecture series focuses on symbiotic associations between microbes and protists, plants, and animals, including humans. Introductory lectures present key concepts of symbiosis. Lectures on selected model systems illustrate the importance of symbiosis for virtually all life forms. They discuss ecological and evolutionary forces driving symbiotic associations at the molecular level. Topics of introductory lectures include definitions of symbiosis and terminology, diversity of microbial symbioses and their habitats, the eukaryotic cell and endosymbiosis theory, transmission processes, host immune response to microbial symbionts, genome evolution and lateral gene transfer, as well as current evolutionary and game theory concepts of interspecies cooperation.

Conceptual lectures:
1. Let’s play – evolutionary game theory and cooperation theory MB 9.3.
2. How symbiosis persists over ecological and evolutionary time scales MB 16.3.
3. Genome evolution and lateral gene transfer in symbiosis MH 23.3.
4. Symbiont cell biology SB 13.4

Model system lectures:
1. A sea of symbionts: cnidarian symbioses JP 20.4.
2. Going green: how to use plant symbioses for sustainable agriculture SW 27.4.
3. Fiat lux: the squid-Vibrio symbiosis SB 4.5.
4. Viruses as symbionts MH 18.5.
5. The good, the bad and the ugly: Wolbachia WM 25.5.
6. Pest control WM 8.6.
7. Defensive symbioses JP 15.6.
8. Everything you always wanted to know about the human microbiota (in 90 min!) SB 22.6.

Assessment and permitted materials

Written exam
Permitted material: personal notes

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

Participants get familiar with our current understanding and perception of symbiotic associations. They have an overview of the molecular mechanisms shared by many symbiotic systems and possess in-depth knowledge of the presented model systems, including their ecology and evolution.

Examination topics

Content of lectures

Reading list

Selected literature (but not transcripts or powerpoint presentations) are available online for the participants.

Association in the course directory

MBO 7, MEC-9, MES5, MMEI II-2.2, MMEI III, MEV W-1, MZO W-2, MMB W-2, MGE III-2, UF MA BU 01, UF MA BU 04

Last modified: Mo 07.09.2020 15:43