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Weekly Seminar - Dr. Mitja Remus-Emsermann

University of Canterbury

The ecology of leaf colonizing bacteria at a single-cell resolution

Biochemistry Seminar Room 231
May. 23, 2017
  • 12:00

Traditionally  microbiologists  investigate  bacteria  as  averages  of  populations:  Be  it  by  observingthe average phenotypic properties of a population such as colony morphologies on an agar plates or  the  growth rate in a shaken liquid culture. This neglects natural variation between individual cells and well-described phenotypical variations within clonal population. Differences within populations become even more apparent in heterogeneous environments, implying, that bacteria should be regarded as individuals. 

The concept of bacterial individuality is a recent development in microbiology. In essence it is built around the ideas that bacteria should be treated as individuals and investigated at scales that actually matter to them (i.e. at a micrometer resolution). Relying on microscopy while employing a bioreporter for bacterial growth success (CUSPER) and other fluorescent techniques such as Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), I will present the impact of the bacterial habitat “phyllosphere”, the surface of aboveground plant organs, on phyllosphere colonizing bacteria and what lessons microbial ecology can learn from micrometer studies. In this framework I will show that the term carrying capacity as it used in microbial ecology has to be (re-­)interpreted very carefully.  

 Using spatial statistics, I will show that short distance aggregation occurs between different taxa on naturally colonized plant leaves.