1st Electronic Symposium on Protistology

The cancellation of scientific meetings around the world this year has created a vacuum in our field in the lost opportunities to interact with our friends and colleagues. However, it is also arguable that travel to meetings was becoming both an excessive burden on our time and on the planet. Like it or not, the coronavirus has also forced most of us to quickly become proficient at remote meeting technology, so the global crisis is also an opportunity for us to reevaluate some aspects of scientific interactions.

To fill this gap in a small way, and also publicly experiment with virtual interactions, we are announcing Protist.Online - Electronic Symposium on Protistology.

The pilot ESOP meeting will take place as two relatively short live sessions, May 5-6 from 8 AM-10 AM Pacific Daylight Time (11 AM-1 PM Eastern Daylight Time / 4 PM-6 PM GMT+1). We have a diverse lineup of 10 great speakers representing many aspects of protistology, listed below.

Our aim was to act quickly, since our friends and colleagues are stuck in isolation right now. This website, will be updated regularly, so check back for more news including a technical instruction sheet for participants that we are developing.

Lastly, the ESOP idea was to stage a short meeting that mitigates as many of the drawbacks to lack of travel as possible, and even uses a few of the advantages (e.g. we are not tied to an “all day” schedule). But ultimately we hope this is a pilot project and that other groups will improve on the basic outline to launch their own mini-meetings in the near future (especially since we cannot stage a live event that caters to all time zones). We also hope by forcing us to try virtual meetings it might open the door to thinking about incorporating some aspect of this into future in-person meetings too (e.g. allowing for virtual registration access to some parts of regular meetings in the future).

Thanks and take care,

ESOP 1 Speakers


Alexandra Worden

Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute & GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel


Ben Larson

University of California, San Francisco & Berkeley


Iñaki Ruiz-Trillo

Institut de Biologia Evolutiva (CSIC-UPF)


Julius Lukeš

Institute of Parasitology, Czech Academy of Science & University of South Bohemia


Purificación López-García

CNRS & Université Paris-Saclay


Raúl González-Pech

University of South Florida & University of Queensland


Ross Waller

University of Cambridge


Susannah Porter

University of California, Santa Barbara


Varsha Mathur

University of British Columbia


Yana Eglit

Dalhousie University

ESOP 1 Organizers


Fabien Burki

Uppsala University


Javier del Campo

University of Miami


Patrick Keeling

University of British Columbia

ESOP 1 Meeting Program

Tuesday May 5

8:00 AM - 8:15 AM PDT / 11:00 AM - 11:15 AM EDT / 4:00 PM -4:15 PM GMT+1. Welcome from the meeting organizers - and a challenge to future meeting organizers.

8:15 AM - 8:35 AM PDT / 11:15 AM - 11:35 AM EDT / 4:15 PM -4:35 PM GMT+1. Iñaki Ruiz-Trillo (Institut de Biologia Evolutiva). Title: The origin of multicellular animals from their perspective of their unicellular relatives

8:45 AM - 9:05 AM PDT / 11:45 AM - 12:05 PM EDT / 4:45 PM - 5:05 PM GMT+1. Ross Waller (University of Cambridge). Title: A subcellular atlas of Toxoplasma reveals the functional and evolutionary context of the proteome

9:15 AM - 9:25 AM PDT / 12:15 PM - 12:25 PM EDT / 5:15 PM - 5:25 PM GMT+1. Raúl González-Pech (University of South Florida & University of Queensland). Title: Can symbiosis drive genome evolution of Symbiodiniaceae?

9:30 AM - 9:40 AM PDT / 12:30 PM - 12:40 PM EDT / 5:30 PM - 5:40 PM GMT+1. COFFEE BREAK. Meeting participants will be randomly divided into smaller groups for introductions, discussions, etc.

9:40 AM - 10:00 AM PDT / 12:40 PM - 1:00 PM EDT / 5:40 PM - 6:00 PM GMT+1. Susannah Porter (University of California, Santa Barbara). Title: Insights into eukaryogenesis from the fossil record

10:10 AM - 10:20 AM PDT / 1:10 PM - 1:20 PM EDT / 6:10 PM - 6:20 PM GMT+1. Varsha Mathur (University of British Columbia). Title: Plastid evolution in deep-branching apicomplexans

Wednesday May 6

8:00 AM - 8:20 AM PDT / 11:00 AM - 11:20 AM EDT / 4:00 PM -4:20 PM GMT+1. [Purificación López-García]().(CNRS & Université Paris-Saclay). Title: The protistan way to fungi

8:30 AM - 8:50 AM PDT / 11:30 AM - 11:50 AM EDT / 4:30 PM -4:50 PM GMT+1. Julius Lukeš (Institute of Parasitology, Czech Academy of Science & University of South Bohemia). Title: A comprehensive view of the euglenozoan mitochondrion

9:00 AM - 9:10 AM PDT / 12:00 AM - 12:10 PM EDT / 5:00 PM - 5:10 PM GMT+1. Ben Larson (University of California, San Francisco & Berkeley). Title: Regulation of form in multicellular choanoflagellates and the evolutionary cell biology of morphogenesis

9:15 AM - 9:25 AM PDT / 12:15 PM - 12:25 PM EDT / 5:15 PM - 5:25 PM GMT+1. COFFEE BREAK. Meeting participants will be randomly divided into smaller groups for introductions, discussions, etc.

9:25 AM - 9:45 AM PDT / 12:25 PM - 12:45 PM EDT / 5:25 PM - 5:45 PM GMT+1. Alexandra Worden (GEOMAR | Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel). Title: Connecting individual eukaryotic cells with partners in the sea

9:55 AM - 10:05 AM PDT / 12:55 PM - 1:05 PM EDT / 5:55 PM - 6:05 PM GMT+1. Yana Eglit (Dalhousie University). Title: Meteora, “Protist X”, and what we can learn from culturing the diversity of eukaryotes