2014 GSA Annual Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia (19–22 October 2014)

Paper No. 336-6
Presentation Time: 2:25 PM


GRIMM, Kurt Andrew, Earth Ocean & Atmospheric Sciences, University of British Columbia, 6339 Stores Rd, Vancouver, BC V6T1Z4, Canada, kgrimm@eos.ubc.ca

Life is slimy and slime is everywhere; slime and Life coevolve. From shower scum and dental plaque to sediments, soils and atmosphere, organismal consortia (e.g. bacteria, forests, biosphere) occupy and modify substrates to produce and perpetuate biofilms.

Biofilms constitute specific habitats, impart robustness, resilience and coherent ecoevolutionary function. Biofilms include metabolic wastes, exuded exopolymers and corpses/body parts of antecedent organisms. Biofilms dramatically impact adhesion, cohesion, exchanges, transmissivity (nanowires), and fluid storage/exchange capacities; unite hydrophobic/hydrophilic characteristics; propel dissolution, transformation and precipitation of minerals; permit/facilitate/enhance reproductive success, recruitment and ecological succession.

For example, oral microbiota create biofilms, dissolve teeth, coevolve microenviroments (periodontal disease) and biomineralize (plaque). Pseudomonas infections occupy necrotic flesh, produce and perpetuate green pus (gp); gp is optimal Pseudomonashabitat and advances the availability of necrotic flesh (gangrene). Seawater (marine snow), sediments (exopolymers), soils (tilth), yogurt, wine and beer are products of similar (homologous?) processes, and will be described in the presentation.

Hypotheses: 1) Biofilms are produced by and coevolve with every living consortium. 2) Biofilms have a nested and circumplanetary distribution. 3) A specific process-pattern operates in the formation of every biofilm, 4) and is evidenced from deeptime to present, across molecular to circumplanetary scales.

5) The atmosphere is a circumplanetary biofilm, produced and perpetuated by The Climate Consortium (CC), a specific ecoevolutionary unity, precisely defined herein. CC is neither a mechanism nor a cybernetic (box-model) system; is neither the biosphere nor the Earth system; extends from the base of the asthenosphere to the top of the atmospheric ozone layer. CC is a circumplanetary unity possessing a holarchical (nested) structure and a hypercyclic/ autoregenerative functionality. CC requires, produces and perpetuates seawater/oceans, soils and atmosphere as coevolving biofilms that permit and perpetuate the ecoevolutionary CC. The CC hypothesis performs well under empirical testing.

  • GSA.2014.BiofilmsEverywhere.Grimm.submitted.pptx (26.1 MB)
  • GSA.2014.BiofilmsEverywhere.Grimm.Compressed.pdf (2.4 MB)