Zur Hauptnavigation / To main navigation

Zur Sekundärnavigation / To secondary navigation

Zum Inhalt dieser Seite / To the content of this page

Sekundärnavigation / Secondary navigation

Inhaltsbereich / Content

Courses 2016-2017

Diversity, Evolution, and Ecology of Microbial Eukaryotes

Most of the genetic and metabolic diversity within nucleated organisms is found in the microbial eukaryotes (=protists), and these microbes have greatly affected environmental evolution over the past 1000 million years. The aims of this course are to introduce the various theories and evidence about the origins of the nucleated cell, and get an overview of the evolution, diversity and ecological importance of the major lineages of microbial eukaryotes. During the first half of the two-hour weekly lectures, molecular and cellular aspects of different lineages will be introduced from a phylogenetic viewpoint. The second half of the lecture will discuss how these lineages have been used to develop and test various aspects of evolutionary and ecological theory. For each meeting, students will be expected to read research and reviews articles.


Meeting time

Three two-hour lecture per week.



4 credits




100 points in total possible. 10 points for participation in paper discussions, 40 point for presentation, and 50 points for final test.



Open to students

Masters students from EvoDiv Program and Education



Papers for class

Class 1: Bacteria/archaea vs. eukaryotes
  • Mayr (1998). Two empires or three? Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 95:9720-9723 [pdf]
  • Woese (1998). Default taxonomy: Ernst Mary’s view of the microbial world. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 95:11043-11046 [pdf]
Class 2: Origins of eukayotes, and symbiosis in evolution
  • Maynard Smith (1991). A Darwinian view of symbiosis. In: Margulis & Fester (eds.), Symbiosis as a source of evolutionary novelty. The MIT Press, Cambridge. pp. 26-39 [pdf]
Class 3: Proterozoic evolution, and eukaryotic phylogeny
  • Adl et al. (2012), The revised classification of eukaryotes. Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology 59: 429–514 [pdf]
  • Archibald (2014). CHAPTERS 3-5, pages 32-87, from One Plus One Equals One. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Class 4: Opisthokonta, and multicellularity

  • Bonner (1999). The origins of multicellularity. Integrative Biology 1:27-36 [pdf]
  • King et al. (2003). Evolution of key cell signaling and adhesion protein families predates animal origins. Science 301:361-363 [pdf]

Class 5: Amoebozoa, and mixotrophy 

  • Gomaa et al. (2014). One alga to rule them all: Unrelated Mixotrophic Testate Amoebae (Amoebozoa, Rhizaria and Stramenopiles) Share the Same Symbiont (Trebouxiophyceae). Protist 165:161-176 [pdf]


Class 6: Excavata, and mitochondrial evolution
  • Martin & Müller (1998). The hydrogen hypothesis for the first eukaryote. Nature 392:37-41 [pdf]

  • Embley & Martin (2006). Eukaryotic evolution, changes and challenges. Nature 440:632-630 [pdf]

    Archibald (2014). CHAPTER 6, pages 88-119, from One Plus One Equals One. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

7: Archaeplastida, and primary plastids
  • Archibald (2014). CHAPTER 7, pages 120-156, from One Plus One Equals One. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Class 8: Cryptophyceae, Haptophyta, and Centrohelida, and secondary plastids

  • Archibald (2009). The puzzle of plastid evolution. Current Biology 19: R81-R88 [pdf]
  • Keeling (2009). Chromalveolates and the evolution of plastids by secondary endosymbiosis. Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology 56:1-8 [pdf]

Class 9: Dinoflagellata and Apicomplexa, and species concepts
  • de Queiroz (2007). Species concepts and species delimitation. Systematic Biology 56:879–886 [pdf]
  • Moore et al. (2008). A photosynthetic alveolate closely related to apicomplexan parasites. Nature 451:959-963 [pdf]
Class 10: Ciliophora, and microbial biogeography
  • Finlay (2002). Global dispersal of free-living microbial eukaryote species. Science 296:1061-1063 [pdf]
  • Foissner et al. (2008). Diversity and geographic distribution of ciliates (Protista: Ciliophora). Biodiversity and Conservation 17:345–363 [pdf]
Class 11: Rhizaria, Stramenopiles, and molecular clocks
  • Graur & Martin (2004). Reading the entrails of chickens: molecular timescales of evolution and the illusion of precision. Trends in Genetics 20:80-86 [pdf]
  • Pawlowski et al. (2003). The evolution of early Foraminifera. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 100: 11494–11498 [pdf]
Class 12: Student presentations