Dr. Sebastian Hess (University of Cologne) (online)

As guest of the CRC 1182

Dr. Sebastian Hess

Independent Junior Research Group Leader (Emmy Noether Programme of the German Research Foundation)
Institute of Zoology, University of Cologne
Hess Lab: Evolutionary Ecology of eukaryotic microbes

Talks about:

Physiology and evolution of ‘multiple endosymbiosis’ in spirostomid ciliates (Heterotrichea, Ciliophora)

Endosymbiosis is a common phenomenon in protist cells, and led to major evolutionary innovations (e.g. evolution of the eukaryotic cell, phototrophic life). Many protists contain endosymbiotic algae and are able to indirectly utilize light as an energy source. Virtually all photosymbioses known today involve algae (e.g. green algae, dinoflagellates) or cyanobacteria, and, hence, are oxygenic (i.e. they produce oxygen). Currently, we study a widespread group of sediment-dwelling ciliates (the genera Spirostomum, Pseudoblepharisma), whose members display interesting endosymbioses with more than one type of intracellular inhabitants. This also includes the purple-green Pseudoblepharisma tenue, which contains anoxygenic (purple sulfur bacteria) and oxygenic (green algae) photobionts at the same time. With metagenomic and advanced microscopic approaches, we shed some light on how such extraordinary symbioses work and evolved. Our findings exemplify once more how symbiosis leads to unprecedented ‘composite organisms’ and the formation of new ecological niches.

Register in advance for this Zoom meeting:


Dr. Sebastian Hess (University of Cologne)


August 17th, 2021


Zoom Meeting

Institutions & Partners