Multi-scale modelling bioDIversity Structure COupling in biofilms

Biofilms are present in many natural ecosystems and usually include billions of microorganisms, from hundreds or even thousands of species. Under specific conditions, these bacteria produce an adhesive matrix of complex spatial structures. A biofilm is typically a complex system, in the sense that it is composed of a huge numbers of micro-organisms and the interactions between individuals are driven by both the spatial structure of the biofilm and the biodiversity of species. In modern wastewater treatment plants, biofilms facilitate the management and improve the purification efficiency of the bioreactors.

The objective of this three-years project (2010-13) is to develop and study computational and mathematical models of biofilm dynamics, taking into account the biodiversity (distribution of bacteria species) and spatial structure. The project is funded by the SYSCOMM program of the French Research Agency (ANR), and gathers specialists of IBM study and reduction techniques, mathematical analysis of ecosystems modelling, multi-scale modelling of complex structures and dynamics, wastewater engineering and biodiversity measurements through DNA fingerprints, and solid waste biodegradation and microscopic biofilm structure imaging. During the project, models will be confronted to experimental data at both micro and macroscopic scales.