Hawaiian Bobtail squid
Symbiotic Organs: Extreme Intimacy with the Microbial World
All multicellular creatures interact with bacteria, but some have taken the relationship to another level with highly specialized structures that house, feed, and exploit the tiny organisms.
Symbiotic Organs: Extreme Intimacy with the Microbial World
Symbiotic Organs: Extreme Intimacy with the Microbial World

All multicellular creatures interact with bacteria, but some have taken the relationship to another level with highly specialized structures that house, feed, and exploit the tiny organisms.

All multicellular creatures interact with bacteria, but some have taken the relationship to another level with highly specialized structures that house, feed, and exploit the tiny organisms.

endosymbionts
Illustration of a Hawaiian Bobtail squid
Infographic: Symbiotic Organs Bring Hosts and Microbes Closer
Catherine Offord | Oct 3, 2022
Specialized structures in plants and animals help attract and mediate communication with bacterial symbionts.
Natural sunbeams underwater through water surface in the Mediterranean sea on a seabed with neptune grass, Catalonia, Roses, Costa Brava, Spain
Marine Plant Partners with Microbes Like Terrestrial Plants Do
Rachael Moeller Gorman | Mar 14, 2022
A seagrass relies on symbiotic bacteria inside its roots to fix nitrogen. This is the first time scientists have demonstrated that this relationship occurs in a marine plant.
Infographic showing how a new bacteria species called <em>Candidatus Celerinatantimonas neptuna</em> lives in seagrass and how it provides the plant with nitrogen
Infographic: Nitrogen-Fixing Bacteria Live Inside Seagrass Roots
Rachael Moeller Gorman | Mar 14, 2022
Researchers can now explain how some marine plants obtain their nitrogen.
Illustration showing coral health outcomes in response to bleaching events
Infographic: How Corals Remember the Past, Prepare for the Future
Amanda Heidt | Feb 14, 2022
Scientists have documented examples of corals “remembering” prior exposure to heat stress in the field, and are now simulating these phenomena in the lab to better understand their cellular and molecular underpinnings.
Conceptual illustration of coral
Environmental Memory: How Corals Are Adjusting to Warmer Waters
Amanda Heidt | Feb 14, 2022
Corals that previously experienced heat stress respond better the next time around. Researchers are trying to figure out how, and hope to one day take advantage of the phenomenon to improve coral restoration efforts. 
A brown tick is shown from above as it climbs a green blade of grass
Bacterial Symbionts Tell Ticks When to Eat
Abby Olena | Oct 1, 2021
The endosymbiont Coxiella affects tick serotonin production and subsequent blood-feeding behavior, a study finds.
WITH VIDEO
A micrograph with a grey background shows both purple bacteria and green algae within a ciliated microorganism
A Protist Hosts Both Green Algae and Purple Bacteria Symbionts
Abby Olena | Jun 11, 2021
Having two different endosymbionts may allow the ciliate Pseudoblepharisma tenue to live in both oxygen-rich and oxygen-poor zones of the muddy bogs of southern Germany.
A microscope image of a dinoflagellate.
Dinoflagellate Genome Structure Unlike Any Other Known
Amanda Heidt | May 10, 2021
The transcription of DNA drives the remarkably tidy organization of chromosomes in the dinoflagellate Symbiodinium microadriaticum.
Forest Fungi Ride Out Wildfires by Hiding Inside Plants
Annie Greene | Apr 1, 2020
Researchers uncover the “body-snatching” tactics of fungi that flourish immediately after wildfires.
Viruses Mediate Interactions Between Bacteria and Sponges: Study
Catherine Offord | Jan 13, 2020
A newly identified group of viruses may help suppress eukaryotes’ immune response and promote tolerance of endosymbiotic bacteria.
Infographic: Phage Protein Helps E. coli Evade Mouse Immune Cells
Catherine Offord | Jan 13, 2020
Researchers suggest the viruses can help endosymbiotic bacteria get along with their hosts.
When Is an Endosymbiont an Organelle?
Ruth Williams | Oct 3, 2019
The finding that a bacterium within a bacterium within an animal cell cooperates with the host on a biosynthetic pathway suggests the endosymbiont is, practically speaking, an organelle.
Coral Reef Scientist Ruth Gates Dies
Catherine Offord | Oct 31, 2018
Gates was director of the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology and a strong advocate for coral conservation.
Mitochondria’s Bacterial Origins Upended
Shawna Williams | Apr 25, 2018
Contrary to some hypotheses, the organelles did not descend from any known lineage of Alphaproteobacteria, researchers find.
Image of the Day: Minions of the Cicada 
The Scientist Staff and The Scientist Staff | Jan 9, 2018
Scientists study the unusual genome evolution of the bacteria that live within a genus of cicadas.