Symposia Themes


We want to continue to build on the previous Congress successes of Woods Hole, Marburg, and Halifax. The latter gathering was supported in part by the National Science Foundation and contributed to new and revived recognition of the symbiosis discipline, including featured articles in Science. Moreover, dozens of the papers presented in Halifax were later published as part of the special issue of the journal Symbiosis or in other refereed journals.

The Vienna Congress will continue to build upon the symbiotic theme approach initiated at Halifax. A key goal of the Society continues to be the fostering of research ideas, methods, results across the symbiotic system themes. This cross-talk and sharing is essential if the symbiosis discipline is to grow and evolve, for its practice will lead to new collaborations, understanding, and questions. The thematic program with a brief description and the name of the session chair/keynote is as follows:
  • Congress keynote speaker Lynn Margulis, USA
  • Multiple partner associations, Ute Henschel, Germany, Chair. More than two defined and recognized partners in a single symbiotic system
  • Metabolic interactions and exchanges, Abdelazziz Heddi, France, Chair. The direct “give and take” metabolism and products, including nutritional.
  • Integrative processes, Margaret McFall-Ngai, USA, Chair. Steps in symbiotic establishment, including the process of transmission, recognition, and regulation
  • Evolutionary implications, Colleen Cavanaugh, USA, Chair. The impact of symbiosis on speciation as well as co-evolutionary processes.
  • Organelle or symbiont? Wolfgang Löffelhardt, Austria, Chair. The transition from symbiont to organelle, including genome reduction, lateral gene transfer, and models of eukaryogenesis.
  • Harming, cheating, or cooperating? Matthias Horn, Austria, Chair. The nature of the symbiotic relationship.
  • Viral influences on symbiosis, Luis P. Villarreal, USA, Chair. Are viruses symbionts? Role of viruses in the evolutionary emergence or suppression of symbiotic systems.
  • Genomics in symbiosis, Gopi Podila, USA, Chair. Including comparative analysis, bioinformational, functional, and identification aspects as applied to better understanding symbiotic systems and their evolutionary history.
  • Enigmatic symbioses, Mary Rumpho, USA, Chair. Relatively new and/or particularly perplexing symbioses
  • Eco-symbiology, Todd Lajeunesse, USA, Chair. Effects of symbiosis on ecosystems, biome dynamics, pollution, and climate change.
  • Applied symbiosis I: Plant and fungi-related applications, Ajit Varma, India, Chair. Use and potential in agriculture, forestry, medicine.
  • Applied symbiosis II: Insect controls, Thomas Miller, USA, Chair. Use in controlling insect pests for improved agriculture and ecosystem restoration.
  • Symposium: Insect Symbiosis: A celebration of the accomplishments of Hajime Ishikawa, Takema Fukatsu, Chair. All aspects of insect symbiosis.
  • Symbiosis teaching workshop, Marc-André Selosse, Chair, France. Symbiotic systems accessible for the classroom, engaging methods of teaching symbiosis, and how to promote greater integration of symbiosis in courses and curriculum.

    People who are planning to contribute to the workshop: Please let Marc-André Selosse know if you plan to give a talk or present life material and/or experiments, and send title, very short summary, and Power Point presentation with orginal pedagogical material to Marc-André Selosse.


  • Symbiosis definitions and directions panel discussion, Angela Douglas, United Kingdom. What is symbiosis ? Are terms of mutualism, parasitism still appropriate? What are key future directions in symbiosis research?
  • MArine Chemoautotrophic SYMbiosis workshop: present state and future perspectives: lead by Françoise H. Lallier.

There will also be established times for those in respective organism specialties – mycorrhizae, lichens, insects to meet and exchange research results, methods, and ideas together as well.

Keynote speakers