SEASONALITY IN VIBRIO BACTERIA POPULATION STRUCTURE: A practical application of the Lotka-Volterra competition model.

Alexis Bury, McKenzie Pickett


The bioluminescent bacteria Vibrio harveyi and V. chagasii, have been consistently found in the Gulf Coast of Florida where their relative abundance varies between winter and summer. This study aims to examine the hypothesis that seasonal variations in relative abundance of Vibrio harveyi and V. chagasii populations off the coast of Florida are due to changes in growth rate and competitive ability of the individual species caused by seasonal differences in temperature. We conducted growth curve experiments with the two bacterial populations at six different temperatures to identify temperature dependent growth rates. Time series cell-count population data were also collected in competition experiments at the same temperature range. The experiments conducted qualitatively exhibit population structural changes observed in nature. Experimental results are used to parameterize a Lotka-Volterra competition mathematical model to test the presence of factors influencing the competitive dynamics additional to the individual temperature dependent growth parameters.


Vibrio harveyi, Vibrio chagasii, Lotka-Volterra, Seasonality

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