The ecology and biogeochemistry of stream biofilms

Tom J. Battin*, Katharina Besemer, Mia M. Bengtsson, Anna M. Romani, Aaron I. Packmann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

382 Scopus citations

Abstract

Streams and rivers form dense networks, shape the Earth's surface and, in their sediments, provide an immensely large surface area for microbial growth. Biofilms dominate microbial life in streams and rivers, drive crucial ecosystem processes and contribute substantially to global biogeochemical fluxes. In turn, water flow and related deliveries of nutrients and organic matter to biofilms constitute major constraints on microbial life. In this Review, we describe the ecology and biogeochemistry of stream biofilms and highlight the influence of physical and ecological processes on their structure and function. Recent advances in the study of biofilm ecology may pave the way towards a mechanistic understanding of the effects of climate and environmental change on stream biofilms and the biogeochemistry of stream ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)251-263
Number of pages13
JournalNature Reviews Microbiology
Volume14
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 14 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Infectious Diseases

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