Tuesday, 12 January 2016
Look at this! Its me! On a science paper!! How cool is that?
The paper summarises the results of the empirical work I carried out showing that nutrient limitation can drive the emergence of population structure in mixed colonies of bacteria growing on a plate. Well-fed colonies remained well-mixed for longer, but when food was scarce, our two strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa rapidly separated to occupy discrete sectors of the expanding colony.
The two strains differed only with respect to a coloured marker, so we don't expect the separation was behaviourally or evolutionarily driven. Instead, it occurs as a simple consequence of a population bottleneck that exists at the growing edge of the colony. Lower nutrients lead to a narrower growing edge and thus a more extreme bottleneck which produces a more rapid loss of genetic diversity, or demixing.
You can read the full paper here:
I'm happy to admit that my role here was primarily the pippetting and plate preparation and photo-taking - the monkey work - not the maths or the experimental design or the theory! I just did as I was told. But I got to use some really cool kit, and I learnt a bundle about experimental design, Pseudomonal mischief and the limits of my thumbs.
Huge thanks to Sara and Kevin for letting me get involved and teaching me so much.