Chalmers Conferences, 9th European Conference on Mathematical and Theoretical Biology

Swimming Patterns in Zoospores
Fordyce A. Davidson

Last modified: 2014-03-28


Oomycetes are a group of  pathogens that cause many destructive diseases in animals and plants. One species in particular, Phytophthora Infestans, is perhaps the most well known and is responsible for the potato  late blight disease. It  was the  cause of the infamous Irish potato famine in the 1880s and  remains  a  significant global problem with associated costs estimated at  $3 billion  annually. Key to the success of this  pathogen  is the dispersal of  free-swimming cells called zoospores. A poorly understood aspect of zoospore behaviour is  auto-aggregation -  the spontaneous formation of large-scale patterns in cell density. Current competing hypotheses suggest that these patterns are formed by one of two distinct mechanisms: chemotaxis and bioconvection. In this talk  we present  mathematical  and experimental results that together  provide strong evidence that auto-aggregation can only result   from a combination of these mechanisms, each having a distinct, time-separated  role.


zoospores; bioconvection; chemotaxis