Docent lecture

  • Date: –16:00
  • Location: Evolutionsbiologiskt centrum Zootissalen
  • Lecturer: Fabiek Burki
  • Contact person: Fabien Burki
  • Docentföreläsning

The New Tree of Eukaryotes: Implications on plastid evolution


Resolving the evolutionary tree of eukaryotes has been a long-standing goal in biology. In addition to being driven by the mere curiosity of biologists, achieving this goal is important because the tree represents the framework on which we understand the origin and evolution of the eukaryotic cell. In this lecture, I will first give a brief historical overview of how our view of the tree has changed over the last 150 years, culminating in the current snapshot depicting the evolutionary relationships among all eukaryotes. Microbes will have a special importance, since they represent the vast bulk of eukaryotic diversity and are thus fundamental to understand key transitions in the macroevolution of complex cells. I will then exemplify how the topology of the tree has impacted our inference of one such transition: the acquisition more than a billion years ago of plastids (=chloroplasts) of red algal origin by a wide array of distinct lineages. This is significant because the origin of these high-order plastids led to the diversification of some of the most successful algae on Earth.


The lecture is an obligatory teaching test for those applying for admittance as docent and it should be possible for students and others with basic academic education in the relevant field to follow it. The lecture will last for 45 minutes and afterwards the audience may ask questions. The lecture will be given in English.