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Training Workshop "Ecology of Marine Symbioses"

May. 2, 2012 - May. 12, 2012

Location: Fetovaia, Island of Elba, Italy
Organisation: HYDRA Institute for Marine Sciences

Symbiomics Field Workshop Shallow Water Symbiosis:
From the Genomes to the Environment and Back

Download the workshop information and registration form as PDF
tl_files/public/misc/ic_pdf.gif 1st_Circular_Symbiomics_01_2012.pdf (1,6 MB)

Download the abstract, program and location description as PDF
tl_files/public/misc/ic_pdf.gif 2nd_Circular_Symbiomics Program 04 2012.pdf (1,3 MB)


Workshop Goals

The focus of this workshop is on learning the theory and practice of working in the field. Students will learn:
  • How to observe, analyse and understand the symbiotic habitats (sediments, seagrass, hard substrates, sunken wood, pelagic environments);
  • How to collect samples in the field using snorkeling and diving;
  • How to identify, characterize, and dissect symbiotic animals (light and fluorescence microscopy)
  • How to prepare and preserve samples for morphological, molecular, and biogeochemical analyses;
  • How to conduct physiological and ecological experiments (e.g. preference experiments, incubations with labeled compounds, etc.).


10 invited senior scientists and 4 PhD candidates will give daily lectures in their field of expertise. A poster session will give students the opportunity to present their PhD projects and discuss their work with others. Round table sessions in the evening with all participants will provide a stimulating environment for evaluating the daily field and lab work, and discussing relevant research on marine symbioses.

Invited teaching faculty

de Beer, Dirk Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology

Distel, Daniel - University of Maine

Dubilier, Nicole - Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology

Fisher, Chuck - Pennsylvania State University

Foster, Rachel - Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology

Giere, Olav - University of Hamburg

Gruber-Vodicka, Harald - University of Vienna

Kleiner, Manuel - Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology

Kuypers, Marcel - Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology

Füssel, Jessika - Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology

Ott, Jörg - University of Vienna

Polerecky, Lubos - Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology

Stewart, Frank - Georgia Institute of Technology

Wentrup, Cecilia - Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology

The symbioses

The symbioses already known from coastal sediments of Elba are mainly chemosynthetic: lucinid clams, stilbonematinid nematodes, gutless oligochaetes, Paracatenula flatworms, ciliates, etc.). Wood deployments are also planned for the study of wood-boring bivalves. The workshop topics • Symbiotic meiofauna • Biogeochemistry of symbiotic habitats • The role of C- and N-compounds in symbiosis • Ecology: interactions with the environment • Symbiont transmission • Host-symbiont interactions • The ecosystem „sunken wood“ • Modeling of symbiotic associations

The workshop topics

  • Symbiotic meiofauna
  • Biogeochemistry of symbiotic habitats
  • The role of C- and N-compounds in symbiosis
  • Ecology: interactions with the environment
  • Symbiont transmission • Host-symbiont interactions
  • The ecosystem „sunken wood“
  • Modeling of symbiotic associations



Workshop dates

The workshop will begin on Wednesday, May 2nd 2012 with a welcome buffet at 18:00 at the HYDRA field station and end Friday evening, May 11th with a farewell dinner.
The workshop will be held at the field station of the HYDRA Institute for Marine Sciences on the Island of Elba, Italy. The station is located in Fetovaia, a small village in the south-west of Elba and overlooks one of the most beautiful beaches of the island. It provides classrooms, dry and wet labs, as well as diving and boating facilities for field research.

tl_files/public/1st_circular/1st_Circular_symbiomics07.jpgtl_files/public/1st_circular/1st_Circular_symbiomics08.jpgDuring the workshop you will stay at the Hotel Galli in Fetovaia (, a small family-run hotel close to the beach and the HYDRA field station. Due to funding and space limitations, students will share a double or triple room.

Breakfast and dinner will be served at the Hotel Galli. Lunch, as well as morning and afternoon tea/snacks will be provided at the HYDRA field station or in the field. A welcome buffet, a barbeque and a closing dinner buffet are planned at the HYDRA field station.

There is one bar, but there are no shops in the village of Fetovaia. The next shop is in the neighboring village Seccheto, which is a 20 min walk along the coast. A shuttle service by HYDRA staff is possible.


Important Information

Diving equipment will be provided. If you would like to scuba dive: you MUST HAVE your scuba certificate and a medical certificate stating that you are „fit for scuba diving“! In May, the sun can be quite strong. You should bring a cap or hat and sunscreen. On the water and in the evenings it can be chilly and it might rain: please bring appropriate clothing. Bring some € in cash (the next cash dispensers and banks are 5-10 km away)


  1. Registration deadline: January 31st, 2012.
    Please use the registration form of this brochure, and e-mail or fax it to Miriam Weber at HYDRA (contact info below).
  2. Please organize and book your own travel arrangements. Plan to arrive in Elbaʻs main town Portoferraio by the early afternoon of May 2nd and depart from Fetovaia the morning of May 12th.
  3. Contact Miriam Weber if you need support for your travel arrangements. Arrival and return transport from HYDRA to Portoferraio will be organized (send your arrival and departure times to Miriam Weber). You can find more travel information at the end of this brochure.
  4. All workshop costs including travel, accommodation, and meals will be covered through Symbiomics. Details on how to receive reimbursement for your travel costs will be provided once you have registered for the workshop. 
We look forward to welcome you in Fetovaia,
Miriam + HYDRA Team

Travel information

You can fly to Pisa or Rome with various airlines: Lufthansa, Alitalia, Ryanair, EasyJet, AirBerlin, etc. From Pisa or Rome you need to continue by train and ferry to Elba (see below). You can fly to/from Elba directly, but only on Saturdays. May 12th you can fly out directly from Elba. If this is an option for you, please book as soon as possible (, as this flight is quickly booked out.

Take the train directly to the harbor Piombino Marittima where the ferry leaves for Elba. You can also take the train to Campiglia Marittima, from where a shuttle bus goes to the harbor.

Take the ferry from Piombino Marittima to Portoferraio. There are three companies: „Toremar“, „Moby Lines“ and „Bluenavy“. The ferries depart regularly from 6 AM to 10 PM. The passage takes about one hour. A reservation is not needed, just buy the ticket at the harbor and take the next boat. In Portoferraio you can take a public bus to Fetovaia or arrange a pick-up by HYDRA staff.

From Portoferraio to Fetovaia public busses leave about once every two hours. The bus ride takes about 45 minutes. If you intend to take a public bus, please let Miriam know and she will help you with the timetable.

„Google maps“ shows the most convenient routes from Germany, Switzerland and Austria. You drive to Piombino Marittima and take the ferryboat to Portoferraio. Then you drive via Procchio, Marina di Campo and Seccheto to Fetovaia. 200 meters after the road sign „Fetovaia“ take the first road to your right. It goes up the hill and is called „Via del Forno“. The first house to your right is the HYDRA field station. SYMBIOMICS Field Workshop on Shallow Water Symbiosis



HYDRA Field Station/Centro Marino Elba
Dr. Miriam Weber
Via del Forno 80
Loc. Fetovaia
57034 Campo nell'Elba (LI)

office +39 0565 98 80 27
mobile +39 338 937 56 77
fax: +49 89 130 60 132

Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology
Dr. Nicole Dubilier
Head of the Symbiosis Group
Celsiusstr. 1
28359 Bremen

office +49 421 20 28 932
fax +49 421 20 28 580


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