ISS Blog

The purpose of this blog is to provide perspectives on and information about symbiotic systems, to increase the awareness of these symbioses in the general public, and to engage readers in conversation and dialog.  We encourage the participation of the International Symbiosis Society's membership in crafting blog posts and/or suggesting topics to cover.  If you would like to become a contributor, or would like to nominate someone, please email the vice president for the website or the webmaster.
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  • 23 May 2019 8:02 AM | Dr. Manju M. Gupta (Administrator)

    The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation recently announced a nine-year, $140M effort – Symbiosis in Aquatic Systems Initiative - focused on advancing knowledge of how symbiotic associations function and participate in ecology and evolution. The initiative is interested in symbioses where at least one partner is a microbe and where the symbiosis takes place in a marine or freshwater environment. The initiative currently has an open call for investigator awards with pre-applications due June 3, 2019. Two additional funding opportunities will be announced later in 2019. The first will focus on advancing experimental model systems in aquatic symbiosis. The second, in partnership with the Simons Foundation, will be centered on the origin of the eukaryotic cell.


    If you are interested in receiving the latest information on funding opportunities, please sign up here:


    For specific questions about the initiative, please email 

     or contact  Sara J. Bender, Ph.D. | Program Officer, Science | Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation | O 650-213-3123

  • 03 Jul 2018 2:10 AM | Dr. Manju M. Gupta (Administrator)

     in project entitled “Candidatus Endoriftia persephone response to host-associated and free-living life style” 

    click here for details 

  • 12 Aug 2017 12:29 PM | Dr. Manju M. Gupta (Administrator)
    A new book on microbial symbionts by Marc-André SELOSSE was published on June 14th, by the French publisher Actes Sud entitled: ‘Never alone. These microbes that are building plants, animals and civilizations.’ For details click here for English  or French version.
  • 03 Feb 2017 12:01 PM | Dr. Manju M. Gupta (Administrator)
    52nd European Marine Biology Symposium with Session on Marine Symbiosis with Monika Bright  as Co organiser and Ute Hentschel Humeida keynote speaker. Can also to be found in face book under - 52nd European Marine Biology Symposium.
  • 15 Nov 2016 9:11 AM | Dr. Manju M. Gupta (Administrator)

    52th European Marine Biology Symposium with a special session on Marine Symbiosis in Piran, Slovenia between September 25 - 29, 2017. 52_EMBS_flyer.pdf

  • 22 Mar 2015 4:07 PM | Anonymous

    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.  

    This symposium aims to bring together current empirical studies on multipartite interactions involving symbionts. In addition to talks from our invited speakers (see below), we welcome contributions focusing on the mechanisms underlying these interactions, their organismal and ecological impacts, as well as on their evolutionary consequences. We hope you will join us!

    Marcia Gonzalez Teuber is Associate Researcher at University of La Serena, Chile. She did her PhD at University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany, under the supervision of Martin Heil, and later on was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Germany.

    She is interested in mutualistic symbiosis between plants and other organisms, and particularly in plant endophyte/plant pathogen interactions. At the International Symbiosis Congress in Lisbon she will tell us about the exciting recent advances in our understanding of the Acacia-ant symbiosis:

    Mutualistic Pseudomyrmex ferrugineus ants on an acacia plant. The ants love nectar from the plant's extrafloral nectaries.

    Copyright: Martin Heil, CINVESTAV, Irapuata, Mexico.

    Ants can form mutualistic associations with plants. Acacia plants provide food and shelter to ants, while in return ants defend plants against the action of herbivores. The defensive service of mutualistic ants also involves, however, protection against leaf microbial pathogens. Direct mechanisms provided by ant-associated bacteria would contribute to the protective role against pathogens. Some bacterial genera, widely known for their production of antibacterial substances, were found to live in ant legs. Thus, ant bacteria seem to be an additional partner in plant-ant interactions, which can contribute significantly to ant-mediated protection from plant pathogens.


    Christoph Vorburger is Assistant Professor for Evolutionary Ecology at ETH Zürich's Institute of Integrative Biology in Switzerland. He did his PhD with Prof. Uli Reyer at the Institute of Zoology at the University of Zürich, and later on moved to Melbourne, Australia, to work as a postdoctoral research fellow with Dr. Paul Sunnucks at La Trobe University. In 2004 he returned to Zürich's Institute of Zoology then moved to ETH/EAWAG in 2009 after being awarded a Research Professorship by the Swiss National Science Foundation.

    The main focus of his research lies on insect host-parasitoid interactions. In particular, his group tries to understand the role of microbial symbionts in host-parasitoid coevolution. To address this issue, the group uses aphids (important agricultural pests), aphid parasitoids (their natural enemies) and the bacterial endosymbionts associated with aphids as a model system. Both theoretical and empirical approaches are employed to tackle how the coevolution between aphids and their parasitoids is modified by such symbionts, especially those that provide protection against parasitoids and other natural enemies.

    The black bean aphids, Aphis fabae, and the parasitoid Lysiphlebus fabarum(photo by Christoph Vorburger).

    At the International Symbiosis Congress in Lisbon Christoph Vorburger will present exciting advances in the understanding of factors that determine the dynamics of host-parasitoid coevolution mediated by symbionts, and their consequences for the composition of parasitoid communities in the field.


  • 07 Mar 2015 7:54 AM | Anonymous
    Lichens represent the most convenient examples of symbiosis because they are easy to find in almost any environment with vegetation.  Yet there is still much we don’t understand about the dynamics of the fungus-alga relationship both within an established lichen and over generations of repeated separation and remarriage.   This session aims to bring together diverse contributions from current research on the lives of lichen symbionts with or without their partners.  We hope you will participate; bring a spouse if you wish.


    Want to find out more about this and other sessions? Check out the full list here. Then, submit and abstract here.

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