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Tuesday 29 Jun 2021The role of bacterial chemotaxis in marine nutrient cycling and symbioses

Doug Brumley - University of Melbourne Meeting ID: 974 7874 0632 Password: 235211 12:00-13:00

Ocean nutrient cycling is driven by the concerted action of marine microbes, but the fine-scale interactions between these microbes and their physical and chemical environments remains elusive. I will present recent work which utilises a novel experimental platform for delivering sub-millimetre scale nutrient pulses, quantitatively mimicking those found in the ocean. Advanced video-microscopy is used to characterise microbial motion at the single cell level, and reveals the precise conditions under which bacteria can detect and climb dynamic nutrient gradients. New mathematical theory, based on the counting of individual molecules of dissolved organic matter, is in striking agreement with the experimental findings. From these quantitative foundations, we have developed a mechanistic framework for microbial motion in structured environments, which directly unifies individual behaviour (cell motility, chemotaxis) with population-scale phenomena (collective nutrient uptake, competition between species).

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