Universität Wien FIND

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, changes to courses and exams may be necessary at short notice (e.g. cancellation of on-site teaching and conversion to online exams). Register for courses/exams via u:space, find out about the current status on u:find and on the moodle learning platform. NOTE: Courses where at least one unit is on-site are currently marked "on-site" in u:find.

Further information about on-site teaching and access tests can be found at https://studieren.univie.ac.at/en/info.

300080 VO Symbiosis concepts and model systems (Part 2) (2019S)

3.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 30 - Biologie


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first serve).


Language: English

Examination dates



Friday 10.15-11.45
***New seminar room Microbial Ecology, Room C5.47, old WU building
Start March 8, 2019


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.

Topics and dates:
Clam and mussel symbioses in chemosynthesis-based ecosystems, 8.3.
Nematode-bacterium symbioses, 15.3.
Fiat lux: the squid-Vibrio symbiosis, 22.3.
Let’s play – evolutionary game theory and cooperation theory, 29.3.
How symbiosis persists over ecological and evolutionary time scales, 5.4.
A sea of symbionts: cnidarian symbioses, 12.4.
Going green: how to use plant symbioses for sustainable agriculture, 3.5.
The 10 best diet tricks - Bacterial symbionts of insects 1 + 2, 10.5.
Genome evolution and lateral gene transfer in symbiosis, 17.5.
The good, the bad and the ugly: Wolbachia, 24.5.
Pest control, 7.6.
Defensive symbioses, 14.6.
Everything you always wanted to know about the human microbiota (in 90 min!), 28.6.

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, MZO W-2, MMB W-2, MGE III-2, UF MA BU 01, UF MA BU 04

Last modified: We 19.08.2020 08:07