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300128 UE Marine Microbial Symbiosis Course (2021S)

10.00 ECTS (6.00 SWS), SPL 30 - Biologie
Continuous assessment of course work


300281 VO Symbiosis - concepts and model systems

300496 VO Meereskunde


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


max. 5 participants
Language: English



1. mandatory online meeting: March 4, 2021: 10.00 - 11.30
2. mandatory meetings: March 11, 2021: 10.00-11.30
3. mandatory meeting: May 21, 2021: 10.00-11.30
4. mandatory meeting July 8, 2021: 15.00-16.00
Research stay in Piran, Slovenia: July 15-27, 2021 or July 29- August 10, 2021 depending on Corona situation and potential limitations in persons allowed in research lab.
requirement: 300125 VO Symbiosis - concepts and model systems (Part 1) OR 300080 VO Symbiosis concepts and model systems (Part 2)


Aims, contents and method of the course

This course provides an introduction into the practical field of marine microbial symbiosis research. Emphasis is laid on a multidisciplinary integrative approach, ranging from microbial to organismal biology to ecology. Every course has a specific topic that will be presented during an online meeting at the beginning of the semester. Students will learn how to cooperate in small groups, get an overview on the relevant literature, get familiar with underwater field and lab work, carry out practical work under the given circumstances, and present their results in form of oral presentations and a written report. A research station, appropriate for the selected topic will be chosen for a two-weeks field trip.
According to chosen model systems, we will search for symbioses in situ, and characterize the their distribution and abundance in the habitat (location, depth, temperature, salinity, pH, oxygen, sulfide, nitrate). Experiments will be designed by the students and carried out in the laboratory.
NO scuba diving, snorkeling required (ABC equipment required, diving suite recommended)
Underwater sampling of animals, wood, water and porewater, sediment; underwater photography and video; measurements of temperature, salinity, pH, oxygen, sulfide, nitrate; dissection-, light- and epifluorescence microsopy and photography and video, extraction and filtration techniques for microbes and animals, stainings: DAPI, live/dead bacterial viability, nile red and bodipy staining, biofilm cell stain, flow-through experimental chambers.

Assessment and permitted materials

Evaluation will be according to the quality of the presentation each student has to prepare and present during the research stay in summer; specific participation in practical team work during the research stay and discussions, presentation of results as oral presentations and a written report.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

Aim is to get familiar with microbial symbioses and their habitats and to understand the conditions under which they thrive.

evaluation: 60% written report, 40% oral presentations, practical work and discussions

Examination topics

Selected topics and methods in marine microbial symbiosis
evaluation: 60% written report, 40% oral presentations, practical work and discussions

Reading list

Bronstein J. L. Mutualism. Oxford University Press (2015).
Douglas, A. E. The symbiotic habit. Princeton and Oxford, Princeton University Press. (2010).
Additionally, literature will be provided for specific topic of each participant by teacher

Association in the course directory


Last modified: Tu 25.05.2021 07:29