Mag. Florian Scharhauser

Current position

PhD student





Main fields of scientific research

I am especially interested in animal-bacteria symbioses especially marine thiotrophic ones, marine nematodes and everything meiofauna.

I studied ecology and marine biology in Vienna and did my Diploma thesis in the lab of Prof. Monika Bright working on the giant tube worm Riftia pachyptila and its chemoautotrophic symbiont Candidatus Endoriftia persephone. I looked into the possibility of a prolonged transmission mode of Endoriftia and analyzed the bacterial community of different host tissues and the host tube using different molecular techniques. I also worked on the shallow-water symbiosis of the peritrich ciliate Zoothamnium niveum and it’s thiotrophic bacterial symbiont Candidatus Thiobios zoothamnicoli.

In my PhD thesis I focus on the diversity, biogeography and evolution of the symbiosis between stilbonematine nematodes and their thiotrophic gammaproteobacterial symbionts Candidatus Thiosymbion using different molecular and microscopy techniques and  bioinformatic tools.


Professional background

Born in Salzburg, raised in Wels Upper Austria, studies in Ecology at the University of Vienna, (Diploma 2012)

uni:docs fellowship for the PhD project: “Stilbonematology” – Diversity and phylogeny of a marine bacteria-nematode symbiosis

Co-author in the stand alone FWF project: P 31594 – Phylogeny and Biography of Stilbonematinae

Co-Host of Meiolive. An online format of presentations on everything about marine meiofauna.




Ott, J., Pröts, P., Scharhauser, F. (2020) A new marine nematode, Catanema schiemeri n. sp. (Desmodoroidea) with multiple prokaryotic symbionts. Acta ZooBot Austria 157: 275 - 287


Scharhauser, F., Zimmermann, J., Ott, J. A., Leisch, N., & GruberVodicka, H. R. (2020). Morphology of obligate ectosymbionts reveals Paralaxus gen. nov.: A new circumtropical genus of marine stilbonematine nematodes. Zoologica Scripta, 49(3), 379-394.



Bright, M., Espada-Hinojosa, S., Volland, J. M., Drexel, J., Kesting, J., Kolar, I., Morchner, D., Nussbaumer, A., Ott, J., Scharhauser, F., Schuster, L.,  Zambalos, H. & Nemeschkal, L.  (2019). Thiotrophic bacterial symbiont induces polyphenism in giant ciliate host Zoothamnium niveum. Scientific reports, 9(1), 1-15.

Conferences and presentations

17th International Meiofauna Conference -SEVENTIMCO, July 2019, Evora, Portugal

-oral presentation on:  “Genetic barcoding in marine nematodes - promises and pitfalls”


52nd  European Marine Biology Symposium- EMBS,  September 2017, Portorož, Slovenia

-oral presentation on: “White, foul and everywhere: global distribution and phylogeny of the Stilbonematinae, a marine benthic thiotrophic symbiosis”


5th International symposium on chemosynthesis-based ecosystems, August 2013, Victoria, Canada, -poster presentation on : “Candidatus Endoriftia persephone and Mollicutes in the skin and tube of adult vestimentiferan tubeworms from deep-sea hydrothermal vents”


7th International symbiosis conference society congress - “The earth’s vast symbiosphere”, July 2012, Krakow, Poland