Definitions: symbiosis, parasitism, mutualism. History of the concept of symbiosis and associated definitions. Role of symbiosis in evolution: symbiogenesis, origin of Eukaryotic cell, vertical transmission and integration of information between partners.
Associations between plants limit and definitions. Symbiosis between autotrophs and nitrogen-fixing organisms: Azolla and other symbioses with cyanobacteria, actinomycetes and Rhizobia.
Associations between plants and fungi: mycorrhizae. Types of mycorrhizae (VAM, ectomycorrhizae, ericoid and orchid mycorrhizae), types of plant and fungal partners. Role of mycorrhizae for plant nutrition. Mycorrhizae in ecosystems: mycorrhizal network, "wood wide web". Mycoeterotrophy and mixotrophy. Origin and evolution of mycorrhizae.
Lichens: lichen symbiosis, characteristics, involved partners. Functionality and ecology of lichen symbiosis. Origin, evolution and reproduction of lichens.
Parasitism in plants: holo- and hemiparasitic plants, obligate and facoltative. Characteristics and function of parasitic relationships between plants .Role of parasites at ecosystem level; origin and evolution of parasitic plants; adelphoparasitism. Relationships between parasitic plants and other trophic levels.
Parasitism of fungi on plants: biotrophy, necrotrophy, endophitic fungi. Example of life cycles and of fungal parasitism on animals.
Animal parasitology: ecology, epidemiology and evolutionary aspects; basic principles and terms in medical and veterinary parasitology; pathogenesis, virulence and the evolution of host-parasite interactions; parasite biology in Cestoda (with emphasis on Taenia spp. and Echinococcus spp.); parasite biology in Nematoda (with emphasis on Trichinella spp., Ascaris spp., Strongyloides spp); the biology of ticks and a general introduction to arthropod vectors; diseases caused by protozoans, with emphasis on toxoplasmosis, leishmaniosis, trypanosomosis, malaria; helminthic diseases, with emphasis on schistosomiasis and filariasis; tick-borne diseases, with emphasis on the Lyme disease.
Lecture notes and scientific papers provided by the teacher and available on the website http://mcaccianigasp.ariel.ctu.unimi.it/v3/home/Default.aspx
Prerequisites and examination procedures
No previous specific knowledge required; oral examination
No preparatory exam required
Language of instruction
Ariel website http://mcaccianigasp.ariel.ctu.unimi.it/v3/home/Default.aspx