Biofilm formation

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Any surface in natural aquatic environments will acquire a biofilm. Biofilm formation generally follows the same sequence of steps wherever it occurs: formation of a conditioning layer of organic molecules, initial attachment of bacteria, growth of adhered bacteria resulting in the formation of microcolonies and subsequently of a mature biofilm. Microeukaryotes like diatoms and protozoa often become incorporated within the biofilm and with time invertebrate larvae and algal spores can settle and grow. Bacterial extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) constitute the biofilm matrix in which the organisms are embedded.

Biological interactions play a major role for the formation and maintenance of a biofilm, (1) among members within the biofilm, (2) between biofilm members and pelagic organisms and (3) in the case of biofilm formation on sessile organisms, between the host, the biofilm and pelagic organisms, often as a chemical defence.

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