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Marine and estuarine natural microbial biofilms: ecological and biogeochemical dimensions

Biology, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, Palisades, NY, USA

Topical Section: Microbial biofilms

Marine and estuarine microbial biofilms are ubiquitously distributed worldwide and are increasingly of interest in basic and applied sciences because of their unique structural and functional features that make them remarkably different from the biota in the plankton. This is a review of some current scientific knowledge of naturally occurring microbial marine and estuarine biofilms including prokaryotic and microeukaryotic biota, but excluding research specifically on engineering and applied aspects of biofilms such as biofouling. Because the microbial communities including bacteria and protists are integral to the fundamental ecological and biogeochemical processes that support biofilm communities, particular attention is given to the structural and ecological aspects of microbial biofilm formation, succession, and maturation, as well as the dynamics of the interactions of the microbiota in biofilms. The intent is to highlight current state of scientific knowledge and possible avenues of future productive research, especially focusing on the ecological and biogeochemical dimensions.
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