metaBio lab

Dr. Rodrigo C. V. Coelho presents "Nutrients dispersion in bacterial swarms"

We are glad to inform our next open seminar at the Instituto de Física da UFRJ, room A327 on May 9th, 2022 at 3 pm.

Dr. Rodrigo C. V. Coelho from the Centro de Física Teórica e Computacional, Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal will present the talk “Nutrients dispersion in bacterial swarms”.

Efficient nutrient mixing is crucial for the survival of bacterial colonies and other living systems. This raises the question of whether the optimization of mixing through the emergence of active turbulent motion in bacterial swarms played a role in the evolution of bacterial shapes. To address this question, we solve the hydrodynamic equation for active nematics to model the bacterial swarms coupled to an advection-diffusion equation for the activity field, which is proportional to the concentration of nutrients. At the interface between active and passive nematics the activity field is transported by the interfacial flows and in turn it modifies them through the generation of active stresses. We find that the dispersion of this conserved activity field is subdiffusive due to the emergence of a barrier of negative defects at the active-passive interface, which hinders the propagation of the motile positive defects. Furthermore, we find a non-monotonic dependence of the generalized diffusion coefficient on the aligning parameter of the active nematics model, which is related to the shape of the particles. The results of our simulations suggest that there is an optimal shape that maximizes the dispersion of the conserved activity field at an active-passive nematic interface.

Figure 1. Dispersion of activity.

References: [1] Rodrigo C. V. Coelho, Nuno A. M. Araújo, Margarida M. Telo da Gama, arXiv:2201.09810 (2022). [2] Rodrigo C. V. Coelho, Nuno A. M. Araújo, Margarida M. Telo da Gama, Soft Matter, 16, 4256-4266 (2020).