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Nat Rev Microbiol. 2016 Apr;14(4):251-63. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro.2016.15.

The ecology and biogeochemistry of stream biofilms.

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Stream Biofilm and Ecosystem Research Laboratory, Faculty of Architecture, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Lausanne CH-1015, Switzerland.
School of Engineering, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8LT, UK.
Institute of Microbiology, University of Greifswald, Greifswald 17489, Germany.
Institute of Aquatic Ecology and Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Girona, Girona E-17071, Spain.
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 60208-3109, USA.


Streams and rivers form dense networks, shape the Earth's surface and, in their sediments, provide an immensely large surface area for microbial growth. Biofilms dominate microbial life in streams and rivers, drive crucial ecosystem processes and contribute substantially to global biogeochemical fluxes. In turn, water flow and related deliveries of nutrients and organic matter to biofilms constitute major constraints on microbial life. In this Review, we describe the ecology and biogeochemistry of stream biofilms and highlight the influence of physical and ecological processes on their structure and function. Recent advances in the study of biofilm ecology may pave the way towards a mechanistic understanding of the effects of climate and environmental change on stream biofilms and the biogeochemistry of stream ecosystems.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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