Send to

Choose Destination
Microb Ecol. 1991 Dec;22(1):227-38. doi: 10.1007/BF02540225.

The influence of cell size on marine bacterial motility and energetics.

Author information

Center for Microbial Ecology, Michigan State University, 48824-1101, East Lansing, Michigan, USA.


The influence of Brownian motion on marine bacteria was examined. Due to their small size, marine bacteria rotate up to 1,400 degrees in one second. This rapid rotation makes directional swimming difficult or impossible, as a bacterium may point in a particular direction for only a few tens of milliseconds on average. Some directional movement, however, was found to be possible if swimming speed is sufficiently great, over approximately 100 μm sec(-1). This led to the testable hypothesis that marine bacteria with radiii less than about 0.75 μm should exceed this speed. The result of the increased speed is that marine bacteria may spend in excess of 10% of their total energy budget on movement. This expenditure is 100 times greater than values for enteric bacteria, and indicates that marine bacteria are likely to be immotile below critical size-specific nutrient concentrations.


Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center