Biofilms in Ecology and Evolution

Biofilms in Ecology and Evolution

Why do bacteria form biofilms? Bacteria that are bound in biofilms are highly resistant against antibiotics and other chemical insults of the environment, which is a clear evolutionary advantage of forming biofilms. Remarkably, the mechanisms underlying the biofilm-antibiotic interaction is poorly understood, and we are investigating unicellular and multicellular responses to antibiotics in biofilms [Diaz-Pascual et al. 2019].


Apart from providing protection against toxins, evolutionary advantages to biofilm formation are vague. However, we recently found the mechanisms underlying the most important selective advantage of making a biofilm: predation avoidance by bacteriophages. [Vidakovic, et al. 2018Simmons, et al. 2018Simmons et al. 2019]


We also recently discovered another reason for why bacteria may want to form biofilms: physical aspects of the biofilm life style strongly favor the evolution of simple social behaviors, such as the production of shared resources or "public goods" [Drescher, et al. 2014Nadell, et al. 2013]. In addition, we are investigation social interactions in spatially structured biofilm communities [Dragos, et al. 2018Nadell, et al. 2016].

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