Centre for Philosophy of Science Applied Evolutionary Epistemology Lab

Douglas Zook


Course description

Once seen only as an interesting biological curiosity, we now know that symbiosis is a dominant expression amongst life on earth. Indeed, vast research data for all biomes indicates that it is impossible to find a one-genome individual eukaryote on earth. One plus one does appear to equal one. Moreover, symbiosis may often exceed recombination and mutation in many systems as the basis for genetic novelty upon which natural selection "acts." Symbiosis understanding and appreciation in the course is enhanced by a uniquely operational symbiosis definition.

Day-by-Day Program

Lecture 1: The Algal Evolutionary Tree as a Symbiotic Construct

  1. Liaisons of Life by Tom Wakeford of the University of Sussex, UK, Wiley Publishers, 2002, softcover. Used and reduced priced copies available on-line. This is an excellent, enjoyable read for entry and overview of symbiotic systems. Available as a soft cover, the book (which can easily be read in a day) should be read in its entirety before the first class session.
  2. Delwiche, CF, 1999. Tracing the thread of plastid diversity through the tapestry of life, American Naturalist 154, S164-S177.


Lecture 2: Establishing a Symbiosis: The Physiological Process

  1. Jeon, KW, 1995. The large, free-living amoebas: Wonderful cells for biological studies. Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology 42:1, pp. 1-7.
  2. Fransolet, D, S Roberty, and JC Plumier, 2012. Establishment of endosymbiosis: The case of cnidarians and Symbiodinium. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 420-421, pp.1-7.
  3. Lima, PT, VG Farina, P Patraquim, AC Ramous, JA Feijo. E Sucena, 2009. Plant-Microbe symbioses: New insights into common roots. BioEssays 31:11. pp. 1233-1244.


Lecture 3: Eukaryotic Cells as Chimeras and Prokaryotic Cells as a Superorganism

  1. Zimmer, C. 2009. On the origin of eukaryotes. Science 325:5941, pp. 666-668.
  2. Sagan, L (Lynn Margulis). On the origin of mitosing cells. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 14:3, pp. 55-274.
  3. Mathieu, LG and S Sonea, 1995. A powerful bacterial world. Endeavour 19:3, pp. 112-117.


Lecture 4: Symbiotic Foundation of Biomes and Geological Features

  1. Zook, D. 2010. Tropical firests as dynamic symbiospheres of life. Symbiosis 51, pp. 27-36.
  2. Westbroek, P. 1992. Life as a Geological Force, WW Norton Publishers.
  3. Huxley, Thomas Henry, 1868. On a piece of chalk. MacMillan Magazine.


Lecture 5: Homo sapiens as a Symbiotic Microbiome

  1. Costello, E, K Stagaman, L Dethiefsen, BJM Bohannan, D. Relman, 2012. The application of ecological theory toward an understanding of the human microbiome. Science 336:6086, pp. 1255-1262.
  2. Carroll, IM, DS Threadgill, DW Threadgill. 2009. The gastrointestinal microbiome: a malleable third genome of mammals. Mammalian Genome 20:7, pp. 395-403.
  3. Spor, A, O Koren, R Ley. 2011. Unravelling the effects of the environment and host genotype on the gut microbiome. Nature Reviews Microbiology 9:4, pp. 279-290.


Further Reading

  1. The adaptation of coral reefs ot climate change: Is the red queen being outpaced? by Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, University of Queensland, Scientia Marina, 2012, pp. 403-408.
  2. The symbiosis between salamander embryos and green algae by Ryan Kerney , 2011. Symbiosis 54:3, pp. 107-117.
  3. The making of a photosynthetic animal by ME Rumpho et al. 2011. Journal of Experimental Biology 214:2, pp. 303-311.