Chapter 14 Photomovement of microorganisms in benthic and soil microenvironments

Ferran Garcia-Pichel, Richard W. Castenholz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Photomovement seems to play an important role in the ecology of natural populations of microorganims, particularly for phototrophs, living in sediments, microbial mats and soils. These (micro)habitats share optical and other physicochemical characteristics, very different from those of the plankton, which may allow photomovement to become of particular adaptive value. This is most obvious in the frequently encountered phenomenon of vertical migrations of benthic phototrophic microorganisms. These migrations involve the populational movement from or to the surface of the sediments (or mats) in response to, or in anticipation of, changes in environmental parameters. We provide a primer on the characteristics of sedimentary and soil light fields, review the information available on the phenomenon of vertical migration of microorganisms in these habitats and discuss the selective advantage provided to the organisms by light-responsive movements in nature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)403-420
Number of pages18
JournalComprehensive Series in Photosciences
Issue numberC
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
  • Dermatology


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