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BIOL 140 Biology of Symbiosis (CORE—Scientific Thought/Non-Laboratory Course)

(3 credits/3 class hours) 

Symbioses, in which different organisms are intimately associated for a significant portion of their lives, are everywhere in nature, and they are an essential component of the health of individual organisms and ecosystems. In fact, symbiosis is one of the reasons that many organisms can even exist! In this course we will explore the diversity of types of symbiotic relationships between unicellular organisms and animals, plants and fungi. Students will be introduced to the general biology, physiology and ecology of associations between algae and invertebrates (such as corals), Rhizobia and legumes and chemoautotrophic/methanotrophic bacteria and marine invertebrates. We will also examine the interactions between the partners of lichens, mycorrhizal associations (fungi and tree roots), digestive/nutritional symbioses (such as termites, ruminants and human guts) and bioluminescent symbioses.