Spatial Ecology of Predation within Bacterial Collectives

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Carey Nadell, Ph.D.
Department of Biological Sciences
Darmouth College


Bacteria and other microbes commonly live in spatially constrained collectives, termed biofilms, which are ubiquitous in the environment and play a central role in microbial ecology. My group combines perspectives from ecological and evolutionary theory with molecular genetics and microscopy techniques to understand the spatial ecology of microbial biofilms at single-cell resolution. In the process of producing biofilms, bacteria engage in complex interactions that range from outright antagonism, to basic forms of resource competition, to highly cooperative behaviors. Understanding the net results of these many interactions is a major challenge in modern microbiology and a primary focus of my research group. Here I will talk about our groups research on the dynamics of predation by viral and bacterial attackers against biofilm populations. This work highlights how predation causes many unexpected downstream effects on biofilm spatial structure, population dynamics, and community assembly.

Host: Brian Hammer, Ph.D.


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