How life's forms modify and evolve the Earth: cyanobacteria (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Sunday, October 15, 2023, 18:15 (189 days ago) @ David Turell

Group together in webs:

"A team at Nottingham Trent University and Loughborough University has revealed the physical mechanism behind the geometric patterns formed of cyanobacteria, one of the oldest and most abundant forms of life on Earth, and which has played a pivotal role in the evolution of our planet.


"Ancient cyanobacteria were the first life form to develop photosynthesis and are responsible for injecting oxygen into the Earth's environment, thereby laying the foundation for the emergence of the complex life forms we are familiar with today.

"Today's cyanobacteria continue to play a key role in maintaining the composition of today's atmosphere and oceans. To help it survive, many species also grow into long chains of cells that crawl across surfaces and weave together into large networks of closely-bundled filaments over hours or days.

"However, until now, the origin of these reticulate or web-like patterns has puzzled scientists.


"They found that when cyanobacteria are present at a high enough density, they begin to organize into their reticulate pattern, as a result of only a few simple rules.

"As the bacteria move, they bump into each other. In most instances, filaments pass over or under each other, but occasionally one deflects and turns to travel alongside another. These two filaments follow each other for a while, before one splits away.

"These interactions lead to the formation of bundles of aligned filaments which organize denser colonies into sprawling networks.


"The team says the findings pave the way to inspiring future investigation of how different types of bacteria self-organize to form structures.

"This could improve our understanding of how bacterial biofilms—collections of bacteria that have attached to a surface and each other—are formed. This knowledge is critical given their central role in various processes, such as human infections, environmental degradation, and bioengineering."

Comment: I view these bacterial actions as programmed into their DNA. They are so important for oxygen supply they must have strong methods of survival.

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