Who knew that bacteria are social “creatures”? Yes, social! It turns out they do not act as separate organisms, but as communal organisms. Dr. Bonnie Brassler gives an interesting TED Talk on bacteria that explains what incredible social or communal organisms bacteria are, and these bacteria tell an interesting story.
Bacteria not only interact with themselves; they work in harmony with other more complex organisms. Bonnie Brassler points to the example of a squid that engages in an intricate dance with bacteria (virio fisheri) to provide an “ingenuous” anti-predator scheme that prevents the squid from casting a shadow. The symbiosis between the squid and bacteria is amazing, down to signal proteins given off by the squid and signal receptor proteins from the bacteria that are like “lock and key”.
It turns out this is no anomaly. All bacteria have systems like the bacterial friends of squid. “All bacteria can talk to each other. Continue reading