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Title: Modelling the ecology and evolution of microorganisms
Author: Clegg, Robert James
Awarding Body: University of Birmingham
Current Institution: University of Birmingham
Date of Award: 2015
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Theoretical models in microbiology have a relative short but successful history. Research presented in this thesis explores the evolutionary origin of aging and the methods used to quantify syntrophic cooperation between microbial species that are distantly related. The mathematical and computational tools used in doing so are developed and discussed in detail. Microorganisms were long thought to be capable of immortality until recent evidence demonstrated otherwise. Theoretical models suggest that aging strategies sacrificing repair for segregation of damage have highest evolutionary fitness, but this is not reflected in nature. The model developed here corrects this view of aging through more realistic assumptions regarding repair. Many estimates of the rate of interspecies metabolite transfer are based on spatial point pattern statistics and assumptions regarding cell surface concentrations. These are shown to be very inaccurate, but proposed alternatives required greater parameterisation. The system is sensitive to difficulties in determining consumption affinity constants, an issue also raised by previous authors.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: QH301 Biology ; QR Microbiology