Nutrient Micropatches in the Sea

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Science  18 Dec 1998:
Vol. 282, Issue 5397, pp. 2149
DOI: 10.1126/science.282.5397.2149j

Aquatic microbial ecosystems are generally assumed to function within a homogeneous environment in which nutrient dispersal is virtually instantaneous. Blackburn et al. (p. 2254) show that this is not so: Patches of nutrients, related to the release of fresh dissolved organic matter, form through the clustering of chemotactic bacteria. Simulations reveal that chemotaxis confers a significant growth advantage to bacteria, thus explaining why the phenotype is present in this environment.

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