Habitat complexity affects microbial growth in fractal maze - Data sets

Published: 2 February 2023| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/r2k5yrgwhb.1
Carlos Arellano


The great variety of Earth’s microorganisms and their functions is attributed to the heterogeneity of their habitats, but our understanding of the impact of this heterogeneity on microbes is limited at the microscale. In the present study we tested how a gradient of spatial habitat complexity in the form of fractal mazes influenced the growth, substrate degradation, and interactions of the bacterial strain Pseudomonas putida and the fungal strain Coprinopsis cinerea. These strains responded in opposite ways: complex habitats strongly reduced fungal growth but, in contrast, increased the abundance of bacteria. Fungal hyphae did not reach far into the mazes and forced bacteria to grow in deeper regions. Bacterial substrate degradation strongly increased with habitat complexity, even more than bacterial biomass, until an optimal depth, while the most remote parts of the mazes showed both decreased biomass and substrate degradation. These results suggest an increase in enzymatic activity in confined spaces, where areas may experience enhanced microbial activity and resource use efficiency. Very remote spaces showing a slower turnover of substrates illustrate a mechanism which may contribute to the long-term storage of organic matter in soils. We here demonstrate that the sole effect of spatial microstructures affects microbial growth and substrate degradation that led to differences in local microscale spatial availability. These differences might add up to considerable changes in nutrient cycling at the macroscale, such as contributing to soil organic carbon storage. This set of data correspond to two types of measurements. The file "Fractal chip results" correspond to the fluorescence measurements of each fractal maze, in the different time points, replicates, and treatments. The file "Spatial analysis" correspond to the fluorescence measurements within the fractal mazes related to the different levels of accessibility within the mazes.



Lunds Universitet Biologiska institutionen, Centrum for miljo- och klimatforskning, Lunds Universitet Tekniska Hogskola, Lunds Universitet Fysiska institutionen


Fluorescence, Image Quantification




Stiftelsen för Strategisk Forskning


BECC - a strategic research area on biodiversity and ecosystemservices in a changing climate