Giving, Taking, and Cheating: The Ecology of Symbiosis


From gut flora of animals to fungi living in tree roots, symbioses are important and widespread throughout the natural world. We can broadly define symbiosis as different species living together in a close association of any nature, from mutualism to parasitism. In this seminar course, we will explore how symbioses are developed, maintained, and broken down and consider the scientific challenges to understanding the function of such associations. We will read and discuss papers from the primary literature, exploring a broad range of taxonomic groups with a special emphasis on microbial symbiosis (involving fungi or bacteria).