Biofilm patterns

Surface-attached and matrix-enclosed biofilms dominate microbial life in streams and rivers where they orchestrate fundamental ecosystem processes. Here biofilms form complex architectures, some of which are highly recurrent and resemble honey-bee combs or polygons. Such architectures were also reported from cyanobacterial mats and even from mono-species bacterial biofilms, and are therefore deemed to carry signatures of universality. The aim of this research project is to unravel possible ecological mechanisms underlying the morphogenesis of these biofilm architectures. The project combines imaging, and geostatistics with rate measurements using microelectrodes to investigate why biofilms form reproducible patterns in various hydraulic micro-environments.

PhD student: Anna Depetris; EPFL Scientist: Dr. Hannes Peter; PI: Tom J. Battin; Research Technician: Dr. Paraskevi Pramateftaki; Collaboration: Antoine Wiedmer; Prof. Michael Kühl, University of Copenhagen

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