Physical characteristics of mixed-species swarming colonies

Ajesh Jose, Gil Ariel, Avraham Be'er

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations
48 Downloads (Pure)


In nature, bacterial collectives typically consist of multiple species, which are interacting both biochemically and physically. Nonetheless, past studies on the physical properties of swarming bacteria were focused on axenic (single-species) populations. In bacterial swarming, intricate interactions between the individuals lead to clusters, rapid jets, and vortices that depend on cell characteristics such as speed and length. In this work, we show the first results of rapidly swarming mixed-species populations of Bacillus subtilis and Serratia marcescens, two model swarm species that are known to swarm well in axenic situations. In mixed liquid cultures, both species have higher reproduction rates. We show that the mixed population swarms together well and that the fraction between the species determines all dynamical scales - from the microscopic (e.g., speed distribution), mesoscopic (vortex size), and macroscopic (colony structure and size). Understanding mixed-species swarms is essential for a comprehensive understanding of the bacterial swarming phenomenon and its biological and evolutionary implications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number064404
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number6
StatePublished - 3 Jun 2022


  • cond-mat.soft

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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