Competition and biodiversity in microbial ecosystems

Spores of Bacillus anthracis observed with SEM microscopy (false colors)

Biodiversity is one of the most fascinating aspects of nature, and has always been the subject of intense study by the scientific community. In particular, one of the mysteries that still puzzles scientists is how it is possible that the large number of species that we observe can coexist, especially in competitive ecosystems: according to the competitive exclusion principle, in fact, we would expect a limited number of species to be able to coexist while competing for a common pool of resources, but the number that we observe in nature (for example in microbial communities) is orders of magnitudes larger.

I’m interested in using theoretical models in order to understand how competition drives and influences biodiversity in microbial ecosystems.