Symbiosis and parasitism

A.Y. 2015/2016
Overall hours
BIO/02 BIO/05
Learning objectives
The objective of the course is to provide students with a knowledge of the biology of symbiosis and parasitism, also providing basic information on the main parasites of humans and animals. This will be achieved by focussing the course on selected examples of symbiotic associations and parasitic diseases, that will be the models on which a general knowledge of the discipline will be built. The selection of the models will be based on the quality and deepness of published research.
Expected learning outcomes
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
Course syllabus
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.

Reference Material
Lecture notes and scientific papers provided by the teacher and available on the website

Prerequisites and examination procedures
No previous specific knowledge required; oral examination

Recommended Prerequisites
No preparatory exam required

Teaching Methods
Class lesson

Language of instruction

WEB pages
Ariel website
BIO/02 - SYSTEMATIC BOTANY - University credits: 0
BIO/05 - ZOOLOGY - University credits: 0
Lessons: 48 hours