Microbes do not live in isolation. Interactions in communities are of great importance for environmental processes and also affect – and are affected by – our lifestyle as exemplified by the spread of antimicrobial resistance genes (AMR).
The transmission of AMR depends on many environmental factors including the presence of large bacterial aggregates called biofilms. In complex populations, limited cell mobility together with limited diffusion of nutrients and other shared molecules, have as a consequence the formation of distinct habitats with differential species composition. The evolution that microbes undergo in these niches is greatly conditioned by surrounding species and their capability to adapt, giving rise to even more complex dynamics and interactions, which condition the efficacy of antibiotic treatments among others.
We are interested in analysing the influence of the environment in microbial social interactions including AMR. To this end we use a combination of lab controlled experiments with simple populations and Next-Gen sequencing in natural communities to investigate the transmission of AMR encoding genes.