Wetzel, R. G.. University of Alabama, rwetzel@biology.as.ua.edu
Francoeur, S. G.. University of Alabama, sfrancoe@biology.as.ua.edu
Espeland, E. M.. University of Alabama, eespelan@biology.as.ua.edu

Early studies considered biofilms to be homogeneous or to have, at best, a two-dimensional structure. Observation of periphyton communities with scanning electron microscopy (SEM) has documented heterogeneity in the spatial distribution of algae. Fine-scale architecture of such communities remains poorly resolved, however, in part because most SEM sample preparation techniques distort or destroy the all-encompassing extracellular polysaccharide (EPS) matrix. Scanning confocal laser microscopy (SCLM) allows imaging of biofilms without creation of sample preparation artifacts. Recent SCLM studies of certain bacterial biofilms have found microscale structures of open channels and conduits within the biofilm; such structures may alter diffusion fluxes and metabolism. These open microareas were not present in all bacterial biofilms. Mixed autotrophic/heterotrophic biofilms (i.e. periphyton) have not been previously investigated for the presence of these structures. Examination of the microscale structure of autotrophic biofilms with SCLM demonstrated how these features can be altered by different environmental conditions of light and dissolved organic matter.
Day: Monday, Feb. 1
Time: 04:30 - 04:45pm
Location: Sweeney Center
Code: SS17MO0430S