Dazzo, F. B., K. J. Klemmer, R. Chandler, and Y. G. Yanni. 2013. In situ ecophysiology of microbial biofilm communities analyzed by CMEIAS computer-assisted microscopy at single-cell resolution. Diversity 5:426-460.
This paper describes the utility of CMEIAS (Center for Microbial Ecology Image Analysis System) computer-assisted microscopy to extract data from accurately segmented images that provide 63 different insights into the ecophysiology of microbial populations and communities within biofilms and other habitats. Topics include quantitative assessments of: (i) morphological diversity as an indicator of impacts that substratum physicochemistries have on biofilm community structure and dominance-rarity relationships among populations; (ii) morphotype-specific distributions of biovolume body size that relate microbial allometric scaling, metabolic activity and growth physiology; (iii) fractal geometry of optimal cellular positioning for efficient utilization of allocated nutrient resources; (iv) morphotype-specific stress responses to starvation, environmental disturbance and bacteriovory predation; (v) patterns of spatial distribution indicating positive and negative cell–cell interactions affecting their colonization behavior; and (vi) significant methodological improvements to increase the accuracy of color-discriminated ecophysiology, e.g., differentiation of cell viability based on cell membrane integrity, cellular respiratory activity, phylogenetically differentiated substrate utilization, and N-acyl homoserine lactone-mediated cell–cell communication by bacteria while colonizing plant roots. The intensity of these ecophysiological attributes commonly varies at the individual cell level, emphasizing the importance of analyzing them at single-cell resolution and the proper spatial scale at which they occur in situ.
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