Eukaryotic Microbiology

portrait of Sonja Rueckert

Eukaroytic Microbiology

Prof. Dr. Sonja Rückert

Group Leader Eukaryotic Microbiology

Faculty of Biology

Universität Duisburg-Essen
45141 Essen


Research Overview

Diversity, ecology, and evolution of protist symbionts/parasites

Our group is broadly interested in symbiosis, with a focus on aquatic parasites/symbionts. Our aim is to broaden the understanding of the evolution, and effects of parasitism on an individual, population, and ecosystem level. We are investigating the following aspects:

  1. Systematics, molecular phylogeny, biodiversity, and evolutionary ecology of the Apicomplexa, in particular the gregarine apicomplexans
  2. Cell culture development of gregarine apicomplexans
  3. Protist-host relationships and interactions
  4. Diversity of parasitic/symbiotic protists in different environments
  5. Parasitic protist communities under different stressor scenarios

Selected Publications

Hiillos, A.-L., Rony, I., Rueckert, S. & Knott, E. K. (2023). Coinfection patterns of two marine apicomplexans are not associated with genetic diversity of their polychaete host. Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology, 70(1), e12932.

Wolz, M., Rueckert, S., & Müller, C. (2022). Fluctuating starvation conditions modify host-symbiont relationship between a leaf beetle and its newly identified gregarine species. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 10, 850161

Bass, D., Rueckert, S., Stern, R., Cleary, A. C., Taylor, J. D., Ward, G. M. & Huys, R. (2021). Parasites, pathogens and other symbionts of copepods. Trends in Parasitology, 37(10), 875-889.

Salomaki, E. D., Terpis, K. X., Rueckert, S., Kotyk, M., Kotyková-Varadínová, Z., Čepička, I., … & Kolisko, M. (2021). Gregarine single-cell transcriptomics reveals differential mitochondrial remodelling and adaptation in apicomplexans. BMC Biology, 19, 77.

Rueckert, S., Betts, E. L., & Tsaousis, A. D. (2019). The symbiotic spectrum: where do the gregarines fit? Trends in Parasitology, 35(9), 687-694.

Adl, S. M., Simpson, A. G. B., Lane, C. E., Lukeš, J., Bass, D., Bowser, S. S., Brown, M. W., …, Rueckert, S., ... & Spiegel, F. W. (2019). Revisions to the Classification, Nomenclature, and Diversity of Eukaryotes. Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology, 66(1), 4-119.

Lentendu, G., Mahé, F., Bass, D., Rueckert, S., Stoeck, T., & Dunthorn, M. (2018). Persistent patterns of high alpha and low beta diversity in tropical parasitic and free-living protist. Molecular Ecology, 27(13), 2846-2857.

Rueckert, S. & Horák, A. (2017). Archigregarines of the English Channel revisited: New molecular data on Selenidium species including early described and new species and the uncertainties of phylogenetic relationships. PLoS ONE, 12(11), e0187430.

Mita, K., Kawai, N., Rueckert, S., & Sasakura, Y. (2012). Large-scale infection of the ascidian Ciona intestinalis by the gregarine Lankesteria ascidiae in an inland culture system. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms, 101(3), 185-195.

Rueckert, S., Simdyanov, T.G., Aleshin, V. V., & Leander, B.S. (2011). Identity of a divergent environmental DNA sequence clade using the phylogeny of gregarine parasites (Apicomplexa) from crustacean hosts. PLoS ONE 6: e18163.