Bacteria push the limits of sensory precision to navigate dynamic seascapes

Douglas R. Brumley, Francesco Carrara, Andrew M. Hein, Yutaka Yawata, Simon A. Levin, Roman Stocke

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

Abstract

The limited precision of sensory organs places fundamental constraints on organismal performance. An open question, however, is whether organisms are routinely pushed to these limits, and how limits might influence interactions between populations of organisms and the environment. Here, we show that marine bacteria operate near the theoretical limit of chemosensory precision when navigating the kinds of chemical landscapes they encounter in the ocean. By combining a method to generate dynamic, replicable resource landscapes, high-speed tracking of freely moving bacteria, a new mathematical theory, and agent-based numerical simulations, we show that sensory noise ultimately limits when and where bacteria can detect and climb chemical gradients. Our results suggest that bacteria inhabit chemical landscapes that are typically dominated by noise that masks shallow chemical gradients, and that the spatiotemporal dynamics of bacterial aggregations can be predicted by mapping the region where chemical gradients rise above noise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages81-82
Number of pages2
StatePublished - 2018
Event2018 IUTAM Symposium on Motile Cells in Complex Environments, MCCE 2018 - Udine, Italy
Duration: May 15 2018May 18 2018

Conference

Conference2018 IUTAM Symposium on Motile Cells in Complex Environments, MCCE 2018
CountryItaly
CityUdine
Period5/15/185/18/18

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Automotive Engineering

Keywords

  • Chemotaxis
  • Microbial ecology
  • Microfluidics
  • Motility
  • Sensing noise

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