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All about biofilms

Microorganisms such as bacteria, algae or protozoa can generally adopt two ways of life. They can either live a planktonic lifestyle, free floating in their environment, or they can live attached to a surface by forming a biofilm.

A biofilm is a complex aggregation of microorganisms embedded within, or associated with, a polymer matrix.

Most microorganisms live in biofilms so that almost all available surfaces exhibiting sufficient nutriment and some water is colonized by biofilms.
Learn more about biofilms in our world >>>

The change of strategy from planktonic to biofilm is very complex and not completely understood, involving mechanisms such as quorum sensing, which may be specific to different species. The life inside a biofilm presents different advantages but the reasons of such a choice are still not clear.
Learn more about the advantages of the biofilm way of life >>>

The formation and the development of biofilms is also very complex and involves several steps of colonization. The growth of the biofilm leads to a mature multispecies biofilm stabilized by an extracellular matrix.
Learn more about biofilm development >>>

Stream Biofilms

Biofilms can be detrimental to human health, being responsible for bad teeth, and contamination of medical devices, catheters and implants. They are also a big issue in engineering, blocking the pipes or adhering to the hulls of boats.

However, most biofilms play an important ecological role in their environment as the biofilms in streams.

A stream biofilm is the layer of greenish-brown slime that is found on rocks, plants, and other surfaces in streams. If you have ever walked through a stream or a river, you may have slipped on rocks that were slimy with biofilm.
Learn more about the freshwater biofilms >>>

Stream biofilms play key roles in primary production, cycling of nutrients, water quality remediation, suspended sediment removal, and energy flow to higher trophic levels.
Learn more about the biofilms in the stream food web >>>

Biofilms constitute a major component of stream ecosystems and must be better understood for stream restoration or rehabilitation to be successful.
Learn more about the importance of biofilms in stream ecology >>>

 

 

 

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Stream Biofilm Research Group
School of Biological Sciences
The University of Auckland
3a Symonds Street
Auckland, New Zealand
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streambiofilmgmail.com

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© Stream Biofilm Project, The University of Auckland 2008-2010
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