Simons Collaboration on Theory of Microbial Ecosystems

The Simons Collaboration on Theory of Microbial Ecosystems (THE-ME) uses a combination of theoretical and experimental approaches to elucidate the principles underpinning the self-organization, structure and function of microbial communities. The group will develop experimental approaches to investigate how reproducible dynamics and function emerge from metabolic interactions between microorganisms in the absence of centralized coordination. The team will draw inspiration from the microbial communities that self-assemble around microscopic particles of organic matter in the ocean to develop much-needed model systems to study microbial ecology at the microbe scale. Culture collections of marine bacteria, fabricated microparticles and controlled microenvironments will serve as a basis for experiments to suggest and test theory. Such small-scale microbial communities underlie larger-scale microbial ecosystems, and the connections across scales will be addressed.

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