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Crowdsourced Microbes Heading to Station

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Hunting pack of bacteria paints a tangled skein

Bacteria that glide together… make art together? This contender in the Art of Science competition run by Princeton University in New Jersey, entitled The history of gliding, depicts the squiggly gliding paths of the bacteria Myxococcus xanthus.

M. xanthus are social bacteria that move in coordinated packs to hunt prey efficiently and protect one another. Mingzhai Sun and Joshua Shaevitz, both of Princeton, recorded their paths for 4 hours to create this intertwined pattern, which shows where groups of hundreds of thousands of bacteria travelled together. The colours indicate the time elapsed on their journeys, with blue representing the start and red the end.
 
 

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