APS276 Symbiosis

Level 2
Semester 2A
Credits 10
Teaching Staff Professor Duncan Cameron, Dr Jonathan Graves, Dr Stephen Rolfe, Professor Julie Scholes, Professor Jurriaan Ton
Co-ordinator Professor Duncan Cameron


In this module, we will explore the nature of symbiosis between plants, animals, bacteria and fungi. We will investigate the “continuum of symbiosis” from parasitism to mutualism using specific examples drawn form natural and agricultural ecosystems to demonstrate how symbionts regulate the structure and function of host communities and the challenge their control poses. We will investigate methods of controlling parasites as well as how symbionts may be harnessed to regulate host communities in restoration ecology, for biological control and ecosystem service provision (e.g. pollinators) using an integrated teaching approach employing lectures and guest seminars from specific experts in the field.

Aims and Objectives

This unit aims to provide students with a detailed understanding of the biology of symbiosis, its implications for regulating the structure and function of host communities and to expose students to cutting-edge research in the field through guest seminars.
By the end of the unit, a candidate will be able to demonstrate:
• knowledge of the ecology and physiology of symbionts.
• knowledge of the way symbionts positively and a negatively influence the physiology and ecology of their hosts.
• knowledge of the mechanisms through which symbionts regulate host community structure.
• knowledge of the management of symbionts (reducing pathogens, biological control, using symbionts for ecosystem restoration).
• understanding of current issues in symbiosis research

Delivery Method: 11 Lectures and 6 seminars

Student Contact Hours: 17

Assessment Method: 100% Examination, multiple choice and essay questions

Feedback: Students can also receive feedback on performance in examinations by arranging a meeting with their personal tutor at the start of the following Semester.

For more information on APS276, please go to MOLE