In memoriam

new paper in Frontiers in Microbiology

There is a new review on the giant ciliate mutualism from chemosynthesis-based marine shallow waters

Monika Bright , Salvador Espada-Hinojosa, Ilias Lagkouvardos and Jean-Marie Volland

The giant ciliate Zoothamnium niveum and its thiotrophic epibiont Candidatus Thiobios zoothamnicoli: a model system to study interspecies cooperation, Frontiers in Microbiology, online, April 7, 2014; doi:10.3389/fmicb.2014.00145

Symbioses between chemoautotrophic sulfur-oxidizing (thiotrophic) bacteria and protists or animals are among the most diverse and prevalent in the ocean. They are extremely difficult to maintain in aquaria and no thiotrophic symbiosis involving an animal host has ever been successfully cultivated. In contrast, we have cultivated the giant ciliate Zoothamnium niveum and its obligate ectosymbiont Cand. Thiobios zoothamnicoli in small flow-through aquaria. This review provides an overview of the host and the symbiont and their phylogenetic relationships. We summarize our knowledge on the ecology, geographic distribution and life cycle of the host, on the vertical transmission of the symbiont, and on the cultivation of this symbiosis. We then discuss the benefits and costs involved in this cooperation compared with other thiotrophic symbioses and outline our view on the evolution and persistence of this byproduct mutualism.
journal article and download article as pdf file (open access)

Workshop on Symbiosis April 2014


The Research Focus Symbiosis of the Faculty of Life Sciences will be holding the next "Let's talk about symbiosis"- workshop on Friday the 11th of April (please find the flyer attached).

To register, please send an e-mail to me ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) and let me know if you want to give a presentation or just to participate. The deadline for the registration is April 7th. For the presentation, you only need to submit a title. Non-presenting participants are also required to register, so we can organize accordingly.

Please circulate this information to anyone who might be interested: Colleagues, Post-docs, PhD students, master students, etc...

Science retreat 2013

Science Retreat in Rust am Neusiedlersee, October 11 -13, 2013.

Conferences summer 2013

Monika was at the Marine Molecular Ecology Gordon Conference in Hong Kong between August 11 – 16, 2013 and gave an invited lecture on the Riftia and Zoothamnium symbioses.







Salva, Monika, Jean Marie, Florian and Julia attended the 5th International Symposium on Chemosynthesis-Based Ecosystems in Victoria, Canada between August 18 – 23, 2013. Florian presented a poster, Julia gave a talk on some of her thesis results on the Riftia symbiosis, while Jean Marie presented the results of the whole TioCiM group on the Zoothamnium symbiosis

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