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Symposia


The congress will be organized in 10 thematic sessions and 8 focused sessions. The thematic sessions will deal with general aspects of symbiotic life across diverse symbiotic systems; the focused sessions will be devoted to specific symbiotic associations or to specific aspects or processes within those symbioses.  Find more details on these sessions using the links provided below:


Thematic Sessions

Symbiotic lifestyle switching

Endophytism and biological control

Communication, symbiosis and behaviour

Connecting habitats

Holobionts as players in ecological stress gradients

Symbionts in multipartite interactions: ecology, evolution and regulatory mechanisms

Establishment and maintenance of mutualism

Ecology and functionality of microbiomes (plants, vertebrates, invertebrates)

Reticulate evolution before and after the modern synthesis: historical and epistemological perspectives and wider applications beyond traditional fields

Teaching symbiosis: look at successful strategies


Focused Sessions

Nematode-bacteria symbioses

Chemosynthetic symbioses in the genomic and post-genomic era 

Interdisciplinary approach to mycorrhizal symbiosis 

Symbiont-based improvement of plant nutraceutical value

Symbiotic microbes - new frontiers in applied biotechnology 

Lichen symbionts: marriage, divorce, and domestic partnership 

Functional plant microbiomes: effects of endophytes and epiphytes on plants

Molecular and cell biology of Wolbachia-host interaction


Working group

Strigolactones role in plant symbiosis in the rhizosphere


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Thematic Sessions


Symbiotic lifestyle switching

Russell J. Rodriguez (1) & Stanley Freeman (2)

1 - Adaptive Symbiotic Technologies, USA

2 - The Volcani Center, Israel


The symbiotic lifestyles expressed by microorganisms range from mutualism to parasitism and constitute the symbiotic continuum.  This continuum plays a significant role in the genetic and biological diversity of plants and animals across complex landscapes.  It has been theorized that symbioses may have been responsible for the movement of plants onto land 450 million years ago and symbiotic lifestyle expression may have been a driver in the communities of species that were successful colonizers of the non-aquatic world.  Although much of our understanding of the symbiotic continuum is based on symbiotic lifestyle expression across genera and species, the continuum can also be visualized within individual microbial isolates.  In this session, we will focus on how seemingly insignificant changes in the host genome and environmental conditions can alter the symbiotic lifestyles of different species and individual microbial isolates.


Keynote speakers:

Stanley Freeman, The Volcani Center, Israel

Tom Wolpert, Oregon State University, USA

Regina Redman, Adaptive Symbiotic Technologies, USA



Endophytism and biological control

Luis Lopez Llorca

Universidad de Alicante, Spain


Multitrophic interactions between macro- and microorganisms can cause losses or gains for plants. Crop yield can be improved by the appropriate modulation of beneficial  organisms, which can be associated with plant roots or shoots and leaves. In the  rhizosphere, the most complex biotic plant microhabitat, there are extremely diverse  pathways for communication among roots, beneficial microbes and pathogens. Plant root exudates diffusing in the rhizosphere act as signals which can be manipulated for improving plant growth and yield and reduce disease. -Omics information can provide the tools to identify the molecular mechanisms involved in such complex systems. In the case of the phylloplane, arthropods and microorganisms interact and we are just beginning to understand the practical implications of these interactions. Endophytism has then a potential role for the modulation of plant pest/pathogen interactions leading to improving plant growth and yield and preventing disease. This is a new view in plant pest management where organismic interactions take the role which formerly had the biocidal properties of chemicals or biotic agents. This new paradigm should be included in future IPM strategies to reduce the negative impacts of excessive loads of fertilisers and chemical pesticides in our agroecosystems.


Keynote speakers:

 
 
Luis Lopez Llorca, Universidad de Alicante, Spain

Nuria Escudero, Universidad de Alicante, Spain

Ernesto Alejandro Zavala Gonzalez, Universidad de Alicante, Spain



Communication, symbiosis and behaviour

Francisco Dionisio & Luis Carvalho

Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal


How far communication within or between species can explain cooperation between species? What types of behavior would be able to avoid the emergence of cheaters that would gain with the investment of conspecifics in the symbiotic relationship? Within this symposium, we will discuss the role of communication and behavior in the establishment of symbiosis. Contributions about all kingdoms of life, from molecular biology, bioinformatics, ecology and evolutionary biology are welcome.


Keynote speaker:

Karina Xavier, Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, Portugal



Connecting habitats

Christian Printzen (1) & Fernando Fernández-Mendoza (2)

1 - Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum, Germany

2 - Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz, Austria


Beyond its immediate benefits – exploitation of otherwise inaccessible natural ressources or protection against deleterious environmental factors – a symbiotic lifestyle increases the adaptive and evolutionary potential of the holobiont. Symbiont switches may help one partner of a symbiosis to adapt to changing environmental conditions by “outsourcing” its stress response to the other partner(s). This mechanism is at the core of, for example, the coral probiotic hypothesis and the hologenome theory of evolution. From an evolutionary perspective, switching symbionts allows much faster and individualised reactions to environmental change than the slow processes of mutation and selection. From an ecological and biogeographical viewpoint, symbiont switches may broaden the ecological niche and geographical range of a holobiont. For this symposium we invite contributions focussing on symbiont plasticity and its biogeographical and ecological effects.



Holobionts as players in ecological stress gradients

Karin Pritsch (1) & Thorsten Grams (2)

1 - Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen, Germany

2 - Technische Universitaet Muenchen, Germany


Plants and animals do not exist as individuals but are associated with microorganisms. The term ‘holobiont’ denotes the resulting complex interactions as natural state of most organisms. Hence, holobionts are the relevant players in evolution and ecology. The often stable relationships affect ecological and evolutionary fitness and favorable associations may be transferred to the next plant or animal generation. In particular, this appears to be relevant under stressful conditions as adaptive traits of plants and animals are less plastic than those of their faster adapting microbial associates. Likewise, also parts of the holobionts such as roots or leaves in their association with microbes may follow similar principles. Thus, the holobiont concept opens new perspectives on the plethora of interactions and their resulting performance in the environment. We welcome contributions from either plant or animal science that open the view on complex associations with microorganisms, affecting their performance in response to ecological or stress gradients. Contributions at different levels of complexity such as MO-associated organs, holobionts or organismic associations in ecosystems are invited. We hope to get together a group of scientists, who are willing to discuss the field of organismic associations from organ to ecosystem levels.


Keynote speakers:

Karin Pritsch, Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen, Germany

Thorsten Grams, Technische Universitaet Muenchen, Germany

Marc-André Selosse, Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, France



Symbionts in multipartite interactions: ecology, evolution and regulatory mechanisms

Flore Zélé (1), Sara Magalhães (1) & Maria J.Pozo (2)

1 - Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal

2 - Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Spain


In recent years, there has been a shift from the one host-one symbiosis paradigm into that of a complex net of interactions. This has come about with the recognition that most (if not all) organisms engage in symbioses with more than one partner. Adding an additional partner to a one-to-one symbiosis may affect this interaction in many ways, as the new partner may interact with the host, the symbiont or both, at different levels.  Therefore, the symbioses can have far reaching consequences on the biotic context of the host. The aim of this symposium is to highlight diverse examples of empirical studies on multipartite interactions involving symbionts. Because these interactions can only be understood using an integrative approach, we welcome contributions focusing on the mechanisms underlying these interactions, their organismal and ecological impacts, as well as on their evolutionary consequences.


Keynote speakers:

Christoph Vorburger, ETH Zürich & Eawag, Switzerland

Marcia Fernanda González Teuber, Universidad de La Serena, Chile



Establishment and maintenance of mutualism

Martin Kaltenpoth

Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Germany 


Many organisms associate with a specific community of microbial symbionts that contribute to the hosts’ Darwinian fitness. However, we are still lacking a unified view on the evolutionary origins of mutualism and the factors that contribute to the maintenance and specificity over long evolutionary timescales. In particular, we are only beginning to understand (pre-)adaptations of microorganisms towards the symbiotic lifestyle as well as the ecological conditions that result in the shift to mutualism. This session aims at providing an overview of the current research on the evolution and maintenance of mutualisms, by integrating theoretical considerations and empirical studies across taxonomic groups and levels of organization, from the holobiont’s fitness all the way down to the molecular basis. Particular emphasis is placed on the following aspects:

· Pre-adaptations in hosts and symbionts towards engaging in symbiotic associations;

· Ecological factors that promote the origin of symbiosis;

· The transition from free-living, commensal, or pathogenic lifestyle to mutualism;

· The conceptual and mechanistic basis of ensuring maintenance and specificity in symbiotic associations.


Keynote speaker:

Abdelaziz Heddi, Institut national des sciences Appliquées de Lyon, France



Ecology and functionality of microbiomes (plants, vertebrates, invertebrates)

 
Jan Dirk van Elsas

University of Groningen, Netherlands


It is increasingly clear that virtually all organisms on earth have strong interactions with their microbiome. A long process of co-evolution of host with associated microbiome is thought to lie at the basis of such ‘deterministic’ interactions. This counts for organisms ranging from the simplest Eukaryotes – protists – via fungi to the highly-complex multicellular ones, plants and animals. It is a challenge to unravel the intricacies of all the interactions that take place between such hosts and their microbial associates, both at the whole-microbiome and at the single-organism level.

In this session, the interactions of plants, fungi, protists and selected vertebrate species will be examined, considering both the whole host-associated microbiomes and key single organisms that make part of that.


Keynote speakers:

 
Jan Dirk van Elsas,
 
University of Groningen, Netherlands

Joana Salles, University of Groningen, Netherlands



Reticulate evolution before and after the modern synthesis: historical and epistemological perspectives and wider applications beyond traditional fields

Nathalie Gontier (1) & Jan Sapp (2)

1 - Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal

2 - York University, Canada 


Studies of symbiosis, symbiogenesis and lateral gene transfer challenge the Modern Synthesis’ one-genome: one-organism conception.  Evidence of reticulate evolution today demands that what counts as an “individual” be reconsidered, and impacts phylogenetic reconstructions of life’s major taxa.  New units of evolution have been proposed, including the “holobiont” or “symbiome,” and it is becoming clear that reticulate evolution causally influences processes of speciation as well as extinction. Research on reticulate evolution is also integrated in fields that surpass classic evolutionary biology. Medicine, agriculture, and even the sociocultural sciences (including sociology, anthropology and linguistics) are applying key concepts and methodologies associated with research on symbiosis, symbiogenesis and lateral gene transfer. In this symposium, we bring together historians, philosophers, biologists and anthropologists to discuss 1) the historical roots of symbiosis and its eclectic development in various biological and sociocultural specialties from the 19th century to the present; 2) the epistemic challenges that reticulate evolution presents in providing new mechanisms, units and levels of evolution as well as new iconographies to reconstruct life’s history; and 3) the potential reticulate evolution has to go beyond the biological sciences to model and conceptualize sociocultural evolution.


Keynote speakers:

Eric Bapteste, Pierre and Joseph Curie University, France

Ricardo Guerrero, University of Barcelona, Spain

Luís Correia, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal & António Manso, Tomar Polytechnic Institute, Portugal

Vitor G. Faria & Élio Sucena, Gulbenkian Institute of Science, Portugal

Laura Weyrich, University of Adelaide, Australia

Nathalie Gontier, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal




Teaching symbiosis: look at successful strategies

Marc-André Selosse (1), Silvana Munzi (2), Gregory Crocetti (3) & Briony Barr (3)

1 - Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, France

2 - Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal

3 - Scale Free Network, Art-Science Collaborative, Australia


This session, now a traditional and much-appreciated session at ISS meetings, is devoted to the discovery of symbiotic models. The session will simulate a teaching room, where you can freely move from one display to another and engage with the scientists or educators displaying the material. You are also encouraged to bring examples of your own teaching models of symbiosis to participate in an ecosystem of engaging educational displays. This could include websites, blogs, journals, storybooks, posters or physical examples of your favourite symbiosis to look at with the naked eye or through microscopes. Classroom exhibition-like displays are strongly encouraged. You will form intimate relationships with extant and fossil mycorrhizae, lichen, coral, the ant-fungus symbiosis, squid-bacteria bioluminescence, the symbiotic relationship between mites and trees, nitrogen-fixing bacteria with legumes, and more…




Focused Sessions


Nematode-bacteria symbioses

Patricia Stock 

University of Arizona, USA 


The proposed symposium will focus on nematode-bacteria symbiotic associations as model systems for advancing knowledge on how bacterial symbionts interact with and/or affect the behavior, physiology and evolution of their nematode hosts and how these interactions influence the evolution of their associations.


Keynote speakers:

Mark Blaxter, University of Edinburgh Scotland, United Kingdom

Barton Slatko, New England Biolabs, USA

Silvia Bulgheresi, University of Vienna, Austria

Patricia Stock, University of Arizona, USA

Paula Morais, Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal



Chemosynthetic symbioses in the genomic and post-genomic era

François H. Lallier (1) & Jillian M. Petersen (2) 

1 - UPMC-Univ Paris 6, France

2 - Max Planck Institute, Germany


Chemosynthetic symbioses were put on the forefront 35 years ago with the emblematic giant tubeworms, mussels and clams from deep-sea hydrothermal vents. Since then, we have come to realize that these associations evolved many times independently in a wide range of host and symbiont lineages. We are also beginning to understand the plethora of energy sources that power (symbiotic) chemosynthetic primary production. Moreover, chemosynthetic symbioses are not restricted to deep-sea ‘hotspots’ but are widespread in marine habitats from the deep sea to shallow waters, and are also prominent in terrestrial cave habitats. As in almost all fields of biology, advances in high-throughput sequencing technologies have greatly expanded our understanding of the diversity, physiology, ecology and evolution of chemosynthetic symbionts and their hosts. Integrated studies of hosts and chemosynthetic symbionts are also beginning to reveal the molecular mechanisms that underpin host-symbiont recognition and crosstalk. This session will showcase the recent progress that has been made through (meta)-genomic, -transcriptomic and –proteomic methods. This session aims to bring together researchers working on diverse host-symbiont systems, from shallow water, deep sea and terrestrial habitats.


Keynote speakers:

Jillian Petersen, Max Planck Institute, Germany

Arnaud Tanguy, UPMC-Université Paris 6, France

Stephanie Markert, University of Greifswald, Germany
Satoshi Nakagawa, Kyoto University and JAMSTEC, Japan



Interdisciplinary approach to mycorrhizal symbiosis 

Manju M. Gupta

University of Delhi, India


The mycorrhizal research and species identification is rapidly moving beyond microscopic studies and extending these approaches to molecular biology, bioinformatics and system biology.  Increasingly application of sophisticated molecular scale process visualisation methods and genomic analysis and development of AMF specific databases and software like MaarjAM, GINCO-BEL, INVAM, PlutoF, SymGRASS etc. offers new opportunities to investigate the structure and functional properties of mycorrhizal fungi and their interaction with environments. In the present session we would highlight the recent breakthrough in mycorrhizal research using these tools and discuss how these approaches are refining our understanding of these organisms.  


Keynote speaker:

Christophe Roux, CNRS-University of Toulouse,  France

Jacqueline Baar, Biomygreen BV, The Netherlands

Manju M. Gupta, University of Delhi, India



Symbiont-based improvement of plant nutraceutical value

Manuela Giovannetti

Università di Pisa, Italy


There is a rising interest in health-promoting properties of plant fresh foods, which are currently regarded as “functional foods”. They contain secondary metabolites (phytochemicals) playing a fundamental role in promoting human health. The content and composition of phytochemicals in fresh fruit and vegetables are greatly affected by mycorrhizal symbioses, established by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) with most crop plants. AMF symbioses not only promote plant growth and health, but also modify several aspects of host plant metabolism, representing an environmentally friendly and efficient strategy to enhance plant biosynthesis of secondary metabolites with health-promoting activities, such as polyphenols, carotenoids, flavonoids, phytoestrogens, and antioxidant enzymes. Many studies investigated AMF inoculation effects on the production of phytochemicals in medicinal and aromatic plants, showing higher accumulation of compounds with therapeutic value. Several food plants have been reported to increase their content in anthocyanins, carotenoids, phenolics, lycopene as well as their total antioxidant activity and antiradical power, when inoculated with AMF symbionts. In the Session, momentous discussions will arise in order to answer to questions as to whether different AMF differentially modulate the production of phytochemicals, and whether and what environmental variables can affect AMF performance and the biosynthesis of secondary metabolites with health-promoting activity. 


Keynote speakers:

Graziella Berta, University of Eastern Piedmont Amedeo Avogadro, Italy

Cristiana Sbrana, National Research Council, Italy

Szymon Zubek, Jagiellonian University, Poland

Marco Cosme, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany

Thomas Fester, Helmholtz-Centre, Germany



Symbiotic microbes - new frontiers in applied biotechnology 

Katarzyna Turnau (1) & Cristina Prandi (2)

1 - Jagiellonian University, Poland

 
2 - Università di Torino, Italy


The sustainability of natural resources has been severely threatened in the last centuries. In many cases irreversible changes in the environment make it impossible for it to be utilized for urbanization or agriculture. Out of the numerous aspects of environment degeneration the pronounced reduction in the biodiversity of symbiotic microorganisms clearly stands out. The importance of this phenomenon manifests itself on every level of biological organization, from individual organism to complex ecosystems.

To prevent further degradation and for re-cultivation a multidisciplinary effort is needed. The development of systems biology based technologies for medicine, agriculture and industry seems inevitable to restrain the progressing environmental degeneration. 

Symbiotic microorganism, fungi and bacteria in particular can be used in re-cultivating sites degenerated. They have also been found to be very useful in medical biotechnology and disease control. 

During this session the latest accomplishment in the field of bioremediation and resotoration, symbiont based control of pests and disease, agricultural and industrial enhancement and ecology and medical implications of symbiosis research will be presented. 


Keynote speakers:

Yoram Kapulnik, The Volcani Center, Israel

Hinanit Koltai, The Volcani Center, Israel



Lichen symbionts: marriage, divorce, and domestic partnership 

William B. Sanders (1) & Elfie Stocker-Wörgötter (2)

1 - Florida Gulf Coast University, USA

2 - University of Graz, Austria


This session seeks any contribution that furthers our understanding of symbiont interaction and relationship in lichen associations, including work focused on symbiont selectivity and aposymbiotic as well as symbiotic stages. Structural, developmental, ecological and molecular approaches are all welcome.


Keynote speaker:

Lucia Muggia, Università di Trieste, Italy



Functional plant microbiomes: effects of endophytes and epiphytes on plants

James White (1), Charles Bacon (2) & Russell J. Rodriguez (3)

1 - Rutgers University, USA 

2 - Russell Research Center, USA

3 - Adaptive Symbiotic Technologies, USA 


There is increasing evidence that microbes that colonize plants asymptomatically are not merely commensals as is often believed. Instead, at least some asymptomatic microbes function to protect plants from herbivores, improve tolerance to stress, increase nutrient supply, or in general increase the evolutionary fitness of the host plant. In this symposium we examine examples of plant microbial associations that illustrate the varied functions of plant microbiomes. Symposium participants will further evaluate the longer-term prospects for constructing plant microbiomes to optimize plant growth and health.


Keynote speakers:

Anthony Glenn, Agricultural Research Service, USA

Carolyn Young, Nobel Foundation, USA

Charles Bacon, Russell Research Center, USDA ARS, USA

Jim White, Rutgers University, USA

Miguel Beltran-Garcia, Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara, Mexico

Russell Rodriguez, Adaptive Symbiotic Technologies, USA



Molecular and cell biology of Wolbachia-host interaction

Irene L.G. Newton (1) & Luis Teixeira (2)

1 - Indiana University, USA

2 - Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, Portugal


Wolbachia are the most widespread endosymbionts in arthropods, infecting ~40% of insect species.  The bacterium is well known for the reproductive manipulations induced in arthropods and more recently, has been used to control the transmission of important human pathogens in mosquito vectors.  Due to its prevalence in insect species and its public health impacts, it is paramount that we better understand the interactions between hosts and the symbiont.  This obligate-intracellular bacteria cannot be cultured outside of host cells yet current molecular and sequencing tools as well as genetics on the hosts have allowed researchers to probe fundamental questions underpinning symbiosis in this model system. In this session we highlight recent advances in our understanding of Wolbachia-host symbiosis at the molecular, cell biology and mechanistic level.


Keynote speakers:

Wolfgang Miller, Medical University of Vienna, Austria

Ewa Chrostek, Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, Portugal



Working group


Strigolactones role in plant symbiosis in the rhizosphere

Hinanit Koltai (1) & Cristina Prandi (2)

1 - Agricultural Research Organization, Israel

 
2 - Università di Torino, Italy


Strigolactones (SLs) are newly discovered phytohormones that contribute to define plant morphology, also in response to environmental conditions, and to the dialogue with organisms in the rhizosphere. As a consequence, SLs have become a cutting-edge topic in plant biology and agronomy, having a great potential in modern agriculture. Because of their both, endogenous and exogenous role as signaling molecules, SLs are well placed to mediate both adaptive changes in plant architecture and beneficial rhizosphere interactions. STRigolactones Enhanced Agricultural Methodologies (STREAM) COST Action provides a unique opportunity to create a forum for meetings and discussions on the concepts and understanding of SLs, as well as their potential use in agriculture. Working Group3 of STREAM, SLs and soil microbiota examines the role SLs play as promoters of Arbuscular Mycorrhiza Fungi (AMF) and rhizobial symbiosis. This suggested satellite meeting may include presentations in subjects of cellular mechanisms of action of SL on AMF and rhizobial organisms during the presymbiotic stages, role of SLs in later symbiotic stages of root symbioses and translation of this knowledge to the field to promote beneficial root symbioses. New discoveries are expected to be presented about functions of SLs at the molecular and cellular levels, role of SLs in the regulation of root symbiosis and evaluation of their efficacy as promoters of root symbioses in the field. 

Supported by the COST FA1206.



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