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Freshwater biofilms

In freshwater systems, individual species of bacteria can occur as both planktonic (free-floating) and benthic (attached to the substratum) organisms. The equilibrium between these two states depends on environmentals factors such as movement of water and substrate availability.

Biofilm development occurs on a wide range of physical interfaces in freshwater including: air/water boundaries, water/biomass such as algae zooplankton and submerged higher plants or water/solid surfaces such as suspended particulate material, sediments and large rock and stones.

Mature biofilms occurring on the surfaces of rocks and stones are highly complex both in terms of microbial diversity and three dimensional structure. Stream biofilms are made up of bacteria, archea, fungi, filamentous and single cell algae and diatoms all interspersed among a polymeric matrix produced by the constituent organisms.

On and within the biofilm are protozoa, nemotodes and the larvae of macrobentic invertebrates which graze on the autotrophic and saprophytic components.

Sources : D. C. Sigee, 2005, Freshwater Microbiology, Wiley, p324-327

 

 

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

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