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The effect of a chaotic environmental flow on the evolution of microbial social behaviors

Grant number: 20/14169-0
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): April 01, 2021
Effective date (End): February 28, 2023
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Physics - General Physics
Principal researcher:Ricardo Martinez Garcia
Grantee:João Pedro Valeriano Miranda
Home Institution: Instituto de Física Teórica (IFT). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de São Paulo. São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:19/05523-8 - Toward a mechanistic theory for biological patterns and their ecosystem management possibilities, AP.BTA.JP


Microbial populations often secrete substances to the external medium to allow them to behave as a collective and perform some tasks more effectively. These behaviors are costly and hence prone to exploitation by mutants that do not participate in the collective action yet get their benefits. Understanding how natural populations avoid invasions by such mutants is a central question in evolutionary biology. Microbial habitats may feature a broad range of flows that may disperse cells and/or their secretions in different forms, from smooth transport by laminar flows to the chaotic mixing characteristic of turbulence. Although each form of mixing may influence the evolution of sociality in complex and unknown ways, the feedbacks between microbial ecology, social evolution, and flow physical properties remain unexplored. The goal of this project is to use mathematical modeling to investigate those connections. Specifically, how chaotic mixing influences the ecology and evolution of a cooperative behavior in a simple microbial ecosystem inhabiting a turbulent environment. (AU)

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