The recognition that all higher organisms live in symbiotic association with microorganisms has opened up a new perspective in biology. Animals and humans alike are now considered as complex ecosystems each consisting of the host and its associated microbiome, which together serve as functional units of selection. Like a Russian doll, the metabolic processes by the symbionts are translated into organism functions which can have profound effects on the ecosystem scale. While the fundamental relevance of symbioses in various ecological contexts is undebated, much remains to be learned exactly how and to what extent the partners work together at the mechanistic and cellular level. Moreover, now, that humans are changing our environment at an unprecedented pace, there is increasing attention on the causes and consequences of the loss of symbiotic equilibrium (dysbiosis). With the support of ever improving methodologies, the field of symbiosis is both exciting and fast paced.
The 3rd Gordon Research Conference on Animal-Microbial Symbioses will bring together an interdisciplinary and international team of researchers from the areas of biology, microbiology, ecology, medicine, and chemistry. The GRC Animal-Microbe Symbioses will be aligned for the second time by the Gordon Research Seminar (GRS) to discuss the latest/most recent research directions and to debate key questions in the field of animal-microbe symbioses. We invite junior and senior researchers to participate in this journey and to return to their home-labs with fresh insights and new collaborations.