Research

From µ-scale ecology to ecosystem function

Bacteria play a fundamental role in all ecosystems by digesting complex forms of organic matter such as biopolymers that originate from algal and plant tissues. In order to degrade insoluble substrates such as biopolymers, multiple species of bacteria with a diverse set of behaviors and functions colonize and assemble on particles of organic matter before initiating a complex cascade of ecological and metabolic transitions that eventually lead to the decomposition of biopolymers. Our research goal is to understand what controls the self-organizing process of community assembly and how micro-scale ecological interactions between bacteria dictate the rate and efficiency of organic matter degradation in the environment