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TU Berlin

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Masters Thesis: Modeling phototroph – heterotroph cross feeding


In the sediment bed, the deposition and degradation of organic material and diffusion of oxygen from the water column sets up a redox gradient with dissolved oxygen available at the surface and hydrogen sulfide below. Bacteria can gain energy by oxidizing sulfide with oxygen in the slim transition zone where sufficient quantities of both substrates are available. An alternative strategy is to grow vertical filaments that reduce oxygen in the surface and oxidize sulfide at depth, with the electrons transferred up through the filament. These “cable bacteria” significantly affect the biogeochemistry of surface water systems, and much is known about how they function biologically. However, there are many unknowns about their ecology, including their dynamics in seasonally anoxic sediments and competition with “regular” bacteria, or more generally, why we see them in some areas but not others. This project involves developing an agent-based model (ABM) of cable bacteria and using it to explore their ecology.


Contact: Prof. Ferdi Hellweger, , KF 306

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