Symposia Topics
Symposium 1: Heterotrophic Marine Protists: A Hard ACTA To Follow

The International Society of Protistologists (ISOP) is proud to recognize its European Cousin's Golden Anniversary. To celebrate half a century of promoting our field, Acta Protozoologica is producing a Special Issue, highlighting marine planktonic protists. This ICOP session will introduce key papers on advances in the study of the ecological roles of heterotrophic marine protists.

David Montagnes, University of Liverpool


Tom Fenchel, Marine Biological Laboratory, University of Copenhagen
Protozoa and Oxygen

Evelyn Lessard, University of Washington
Ecological roles of phagotrophic dinoflagellates in the present and future ocean

Connie Lovejoy, Université Laval
Changing views of arctic protists in a changing Arctic

David Patterson, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole
Getting protistology into the big data world

Symposium 2: Uncultivated Genomics

Funded by The Moore Foundation, will cover a topic of growing concern, which is how to apply new sequencing methods to the vast proportion of eukaryotic microbes that are presently not in culture. This includes metagenomics methods, but also approaches like targeted metagenomics, single cell genomics, and single cell transcriptomics, the development of which offers some hope of connecting large scale environmental molecular data with the cells from which they are derived.

Patrick Keeling, University of British Columbia


Debashish Bhattacharya, Rutgers University
Deducing biology and evolution from eukaryote single cell genome assemblies

Alexandra Worden
, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Putting Meta’omics to Work in EvoEco Science

Daniel Vaulot
, Station Biologique, Roscoff
Picoeucaryote metagenomes from the South-Eastern Pacific Ocean

Symposium 3: Ciliates as model organisms

Through four focused presentations, this session will provide an introduction to why ciliates make good models to understand biological issues well beyond protistology.  The session is intended to provoke discussion and stimulate further use (and not misuse) of ciliates as research tools.  The formal symposium will be followed by an evening round-table discussion.  All are welcome.

L Hufnagel, University of Rhode Island
David Montagnes, University of Liverpool


David Montagnes,
University of Liverpool
Examining population models using ciliates

Casey terHorst, Michigan State University
Rapid evolution affects ecological interactions: using ciliates as a model system for experimental evolution

Linda Hufnagel, University of Rhode Island
Cilioprotists as model systems related to molecular cell biology and disease: advantages and opportunities

Leslie Beh, Princeton University
Oxytricha as a model for RNA-mediated epigenetic inheritance

Symposium 4: Chromera and apicomplexans

Details TBA

Arnab Pain, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology
Geoff McFadden, University of Melbourne


Arnab Pain,
King Abdullah University of Science and Technology
The nuclear genomes of chromerid alga elucidate the evolution of apicomplexan parasitism

Jan Janouskovec, University of British Columbia
Colpodellids and the origins of apicomplexan parasites

Miroslav Obornik,
University of South Bohemia
Formation and excystation of zoosporangia in Chromera velia

Symposium 5: Protist Barcoding

Review of current ideas on the exploration of protistan biodiversity using novel high-throughput technologies at the interface between sequencing and imaging. Barcoding, metabarcoding, and single-cell morphogenetic technologies are currently poised to allow us to fill a major gap in protistan biodiversity research, and ensure that genetic and morphological data are both captured from natural diversity.

Colomban de Vargas, Station Biologique, Roscoff
Jan Pawlowski, University of Geneva


Colomban de Vargas, Station Biologique, Roscoff
Global Oceans Protistan Metabarcoding

Jan Pawlowski, University of Geneva
DNA barcoding and the challenges of integrative taxonomy in protists

Dimitri Maslov, University of California, Riverside
How DNA barcoding facilitates trypanosomatid species discovery, inventory, and identification

Mike Sieracki, Bigelow Labs
Barcoding the uncultivable protists and beyond

Symposium 6: Ciliates And The Rare Biosphere

This session is presented by the “Research Coordination Network for Biodiversity of Ciliates”, a project funded jointly by the U.S. National Science Foundation and the Natural Science Foundation of China. The aim is to address fundamental questions about the extent and function of ciliates in the Rare Biosphere. In particular, we will discuss the following issues: How can ‘rarity’ of ciliate species be recognized, documented, and confirmed? To what degree are habitat- and food-specificity, as well as seasonality, determining factors in the biodiversity of ciliates? How does investigation of rare species benefit community and ecosystem ecology?

Micah Dunthorn, University of Kaiserslautern
John Clamp, North Carolina Central University


Micah Dunthorn, University of Kaiserslautern
Ciliates and the rare biosphere: a review

Xiaozhong Hu, Ocean University of China
Morphology of rare ciliates in extreme environments

Thomas Weisse, University of Innsbruck
Community ecology of rare ciliates

Virginia Edgcomb, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Ciliate and other protist denizens of deep oxycline and halocline marine environments and their alliances

Symposium 7: Organelles & Endosymbionts

Funded by The Centre for Microbial Diversity and Evolution (CMDE), will highlight the importance of symbiotic interactions in eukaryotic cells. From transient symbionts to fully integrated organelles, the combination of genomic and cell biological approaches together unravel how two cells combine to create a third and different type of cell, and how the two partners merge and communicate.

Tomoyoshi Nozaki, National Institute of Infectious Diseases, Japan
Patrick Keeling, University of British Columbia


Christopher Howe
, University of Cambridge
Insights into endosymbiosis from dinoflagellates

Michael Gray, Dalhousie University
Mitochondrial Evolution: Genome vs. Proteome

Moriya Ohkuma, RIKEN
Metabolic coordinations between termite-gut cellulolytic flagellates and their endosymbiontic bacteria

Masahiro Yamamoto, Osaka University
A protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii manipulates host cell functions by effector molecules

Symposium 8: Parasite Population Genomics

Funded by The Burroughs-Wellcome Fund, will review progress in one of the newest aspects of genomics – genome-wide comparisons at the population level. Population genomics has the potential to reveal whole new levels of evolutionary change in all major protist groups, but is only beginning to be applied. As is often the case, parasitic taxa and fungi are leading this emerging field, and data from several parasitic microbial eukaryotes will serve to show the power of this approach.

David Roos, University of Pennsylvania
Aaron Turkewitz, University of Chicago


David Roos, University of Pennsylvania
Population genomics of Toxoplasma gondii: How much sex, and how important?

Jean-Claude Dujardin, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp
Population genomics of Leishmania donovani in the Indian sub-continent: the weight of gene dosage

Nicolas Corradi, University of Ottawa
Population Genomics of Microsporidia

Symposium 9: Phylogenomic Approaches To Understanding Early Eukaryote Evolution

Funded by the Centre for Comparative Genomics and Evolutionary Bioinformatics (CGEB), will present advances and discuss challenges on large-scale phylogenetic analyses using protein sequences to explore fundamental questions of eukaryotic evolution. Next-generation DNA sequencing has spurred an explosion in data generation, creating new possibilities for molecular phylogenetics, but also new challenges. Big data processing, along with biological and analytical problems stemming from large multi-gene datasets pose big obstacles to elucidating deep eukaryotic phylogeny.

Claudio Slamovits, Dalhousie University
Andrew Roger, Dalhousie University


Andrew Roger, Dalhousie University
The deep structure of the tree of eukaryotes inferred from phylogenomic analyses

Tom Richards, Natural History Museum, London
Gene fusions, cytoskeleton evolution and cell complexity of the last common eukaryotic ancestor
EMBO Young Investigator Lecture

Fabien Burki, University of British Columbia
Phylogenomics of the uncultivated intracellular parasite Mikrocytos mackini reveals evidence for a mitosome in Rhizaria

Yuji Inagaki, University of Tsukuba
Progress in placing newly discovered protist lineages in the deep tree of eukaryotes: Tskuubamonas globosa and Palpitomonas bilix

Symposium 10: Physiological Flexibility Among Protists: Insights From Studies Of Genes To Ecosystems

Funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Office of Polar Programs, Antarctic Organisms, and Ecosystems, will examine the phylogenetic breadth, physiological mechanisms, and ecological significance of mixed phototrophic and heterotrophic nutrition among protistan taxa. This symposium will bring together a group of speakers to provide perspective and our present state of understanding of protistan mixotrophy across these many scales of inquiry.

David Caron, University of Southern California
Rebecca Gast, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution


Diane Stoecker, University of Maryland
Mixotrophy in planktonic protists: Diversity of taxa, physiologies, habitats and ecosystem effects

Johan Decelle, Universite Pierre et Marie Curie
New perspectives on the functioning of photosymbiosis in Radiolaria and Foraminifera

Karla Heidelberg, University of Southern California
Comparative functional analysis of the harmful algae Haptophyte, Prymnesium parvum.

Ben Ward, Ecole Normale Superieure
Evaluating the basin-scale impact and uncertainties of mixotrophy in the North Atlantic

Symposium 11: Evolutionary Cell Biology

Funded by The Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR), will bridge a gap between the well-developed fields of evolutionary biology and cell biology. The link between the two is perhaps most evident in protists where complex cell biology and organismal biology are one and the same, and a stunning depth of evolutionary diversity has been documented. This symposium will show how a deeper merging of these two fields is leading to new ways to think about patterns of variation in cellular features within and between species and of the mechanisms responsible for their establishment and maintenance.

Aaron Turkewitz, University of Chicago
David Roos, University of Pennsylvania


Aaron Turkewitz, University of Chicago
Sculpting the Endomembrane Network: A Hybrid Origin for Dense Core Secretory Vesicles in Ciliates

Arthur Grossman, Stanford University
Some Insights into the Evolution of Organelles

Mark Field, University of Cambridge
Breaking the fourth wall of evolutionary cell biology with proteomics

Symposium 12: Novel Models Amongst The Parasitic Protists

Funded by The International Society of Protistologists, will address recent advances involving parasites other than the dozen or so most established 'model' species. The symposium highlights the potential for a broad base of model systems to advance our understanding of the biology and evolution of parasitic groups or the nature of parasitism itself.

Chair: Julius Lukeš, Institute of Parasitology, Ceske Budejovice


John Archibald, Dalhousie University
Euks in euks: new perspectives from the Ichthyobodo-related endosymbionts of pathogenic amoebae

Boris Striepen, University of Georgia
Cryptosporidium an important, fascinating, and challenging pathogen

Jan Tachezy, Charles University, Prague
Losing functions: From Mastigamoeba hydrogenosome to Entamoeba mitosome

Julius Lukeš, Institute of Parasitology, Ceske Budejovice
Diversity and phylogeny of insect trypanosomatids: all that is hidden shall be revealed