menu
  • Summary
  • Team

Project C07

Principal Investigators: Prof. Dr. Stefan Schuster

Computer Simulation and Game-Theoretical Analysis of Microbial Consortia

 

In microbial communities, often a superposition of mutualism and competition can be observed, a phenomenon studied in many of the CRC projects. Molecular interactions are crucial for most of these relationships. Thus, for example, mutualism under the control of chemical mediators can often be observed in phytoplankton interactions, but this can be turned around once additional interaction partners like algicidal bacteria come into play (C01). Even in multitrophic interactions such superimposed functions are relevant. Theoretical analysis and computer simulation are instrumental in understanding the complex phenomena in such communities, such as cheating, complex spatial structures, oscillations and irregular dynamics. Such in-silico analyses have attracted increased interest in recent years, and are an essential part of Systems Biology. The present project is aimed at elucidating complex interactions in microbial communities by mathematical modelling and computer simulation, with a special focus on tripartite communities. Three methodologies will be used: ordinary differential equation systems, evolutionary game theory and individual-based (spatial) modelling. Hybrid methods such as describing games by differential equation systems will be used as well. One of the situations studied in this way is the “rock-scissors-paper game”, in which three or more types (e.g. bacterial strains) form a cyclic dominance structure.

In cooperation with several partners in the CRC, specific examples will be studied. This includes the above mentioned project C01 (in which a toxin-producing bacterium, Kordia algicida, and a susceptible as well as a resistant strain of a unicellular alga, Chaetoceros spp., are studied) but also others where similar patterns will be unraveled (e.g. B07, C03, C04). Temporal aspects to be analysed are, for example the transition between pathogenicity and mutualism among bacteria and fungi (with B01) and the effect of different initial conditions (historical contingency, with A01, A02, B08, C01). Spatial aspects of interest are, for example, oxygen gradients and structures at the bacterial/fungal-plant interface (with B01). The project will serve both as an essential part in the iterative cycle experiment-theory-experiment and deal with more general theoretical questions in microbial Systems Biology. Within this funding period the theoretical description of the respective systems will be developed. This will pave the way for a more unifying recognition of common principles in multipartite, chemically mediated interactions in the third funding period.     

 

Team C07

Prof. Dr. Stefan Schuster


Matthias-Schleiden-Institute

Bioinformatics


Friedrich Schiller University Jena

homepage
email

Dr. Bashar Ibrahim


Matthias-Schleiden-Institute

Bioinformatics

Friedrich Schiller University Jena

email

Patricia Sieber


Matthias-Schleiden-Institute

Bioinformatics

Friedrich Schiller University Jena

email