University Of Tasmania

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An experimental model for the spatial structuring and selection of bacterial communities

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 11:02 authored by Thomas, T, Kindinger, I, Yu, D, Esvaran, M, Blackall, L, Forehead, HI, Craig JohnsonCraig Johnson, Manefield, M
Community-level selection is an important concept in evolutionary biology and has been predicted to arise in systems that are spatially structured. Here we develop an experimental model for spatially-structured bacterial communities based on coaggregating strains and test their relative fitness under a defined selection pressure. As selection we apply protozoan grazing in a defined, continuous culturing system. We demonstrate that a slow-growing bacterial strain Blastomonas natatoria 2.1, which forms coaggregates with Micrococcus luteus, can outcompete a fast-growing, closely related strain Blastomonas natatoria 2.8 under conditions of protozoan grazing. The competitive benefit provided by spatial structuring has implications for the evolution of natural bacterial communities in the environment.


Publication title

Journal of Microbiological Methods








School of Natural Sciences


Elsevier Science Bv

Place of publication

Po Box 211, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1000 Ae

Rights statement

The definitive version is available at

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences