Section 9
Chapter 8,997

Mathematical simulation of the interactions among cyanobacteria, purple sulfur bacteria and chemotropic sulfur bacteria in microbial mat communities

D.W.t, R.; Van Den Ende, F.P.; Van Gemerden, H.

FEMS Microbiology Ecology 17(2): 117-135


ISSN/ISBN: 0168-6496
Accession: 008996323

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A deterministic one-dimensional reaction diffusion model was constructed to simulate benthic stratification patterns and population dynamics of cyanobacteria, purple and colorless sulfur bacteria as found in marine microbial mats. The model involves the major biogeochemical processes of the sulfur cycle and includes growth metabolism and their kinetic parameters as described from laboratory experimentation. Hence, the metabolic production and consumption processes are coupled to population growth. The model is used to calculate benthic oxygen, sulfide and light profiles and to infer spatial relationships and interactions among the different populations. Furthermore, the model is used to explore the effect of different abiotic and biotic environmental parameters on the community structure. A strikingly clear pattern emerged of the interaction between purple and colorless sulfur bacteria: either colorless sulfur bacteria dominate or a coexistence is found of colorless and purple sulfur bacteria. The model predicts that purple sulfur bacteria only proliferate when the studied environmental parameters surpass well-defined threshold levels. However, once the appropriate conditions do occur, the purple sulfur bacteria are extremely successful as their biomass outweighs that of colorless sulfur bacteria by a factor of up to 17. The typical stratification pattern predicted closely resembles the often described bilayer communities which comprise a layer of purple sulfur bacteria below a cyanobacterial top-layer; colorless sulfur bacteria are predicted to sandwich in between both layers. The profiles of oxygen and sulfide shift on a diel basis similarly as observed in real systems.

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