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The dispersion stages of potential settlers, ranging from bacteria to the propagules of invertebrates or macroalgae are always present in the sea albeit varying in composition and concentration regionally, with depth, and with season. Phylogenetic diversity and antimicrobial activities of bryozoan-associated bacteria isolated from Mediterranean and Baltic Sea habitats.
The concentration of the various forms can reach densities per ml of seawater of 10 for propagules of animals and macroalgae (for references, see Harder, 2009). The effect of depth on the accrual of marine biofilms on glass substrata deployed in the Clyde Sea, Scotland. Pubmed Abstract | Pubmed Full Text | Cross Ref Full Text Heindl, H., Wiese, J., Thiel, V., and Imhoff, J.
When protective armor against predation or mechanical stress (cuticles, shells, spines, tunics, etc.) is not realized because a species rather relies on escape, hiding, poor palatability or chemical defenses, its outer body surface represents its major physiological interface with the environment. Pubmed Abstract | Pubmed Full Text | Cross Ref Full Text Hentschel, U., Fieseler, L., Wehrl, M., Gernert, C., Steinert, M., Hacker, J., and Horn, M.
This interface is often delicate serving a multitude of exchange processes with the environment: respiration, exudation of wastes and secondary metabolites, absorption of energetic irradiation or informational signals, uptake of nutrients, and gases, etc. (2003) “Microbial diversity of marine sponges,” in Marine Molecular Biotechnology, ed.
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Here we review existing evidence how marine epibiotic biofilms affect their hosts’ ecology by altering the properties of and processes across its outer surfaces.
The body surface of a nudibranch, for instance, may be considered the combined equivalent of human skin, eyes, (internalized) lungs, intestine, and kidneys. Changes in epiphytic bacterial communities of intertidal seaweeds modulated by host, temporality, and copper enrichment.
From an ecological perspective, most interactions among conspecifics, or host/parasite and predator/pray pairs are linked to and controlled by properties of the organism’s body surface.
the settlement of other organisms onto this surface.
Such non-trophic association between a basibiont (host) and an epibiont (on-growing organism) is called epibiosis (e.g., Wahl, 1989).