Go With The Flow

RLM 11.204
Avraham Be'er
Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel
Go With The Flow

Motile bacteria are able to colonize surfaces by using various types of motility. The most rapid method involves an organized, flagella-based cell motion; a collective secretion of surfactants enables the fast expansion. Such “swarming” has been studied extensively. While the dynamics of swarming cells is fairly understood, very little is known about the upper surface of the swarm, the liquid/air interface, which past work mistakenly considered stationary. I will show that the upper surface of swarming colonies is mobile and that surface for high surfactant-producing swarms is superdiffusive. Swarming not only allows bacteria to forage for food, but also confers protective advantages against antimicrobial agents. Our results are therefore relevant to superdiffusive strategies in biological foraging and survival.