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Films and Strands (Biotic Subclass)

Component: Biotic

Unique Identifier: 417

Biotic Setting Planktonic Biota
Biotic Class Floating/Suspended Microbes
Biotic Subclass Films and Strands

Definition Aggregations of microbes in a very thin layer (millimeters or less) on the water's surface or at a discontinuity layer within the water column. The air-water interface is a site of intense biological activity due to the abundance of light, oxygen and energy. The density gradients and discontinuity at the surface of the water column or at fronts and discontinuities within the water column are ideal for the aggregation of microbes in films covering large areas and strands that follow the movements of water currents (Cunliffe and Murrell 2009). The concentration of microbes creates numerous niches for feeding by higher trophic levels and for the processing of biogenic and inorganic compounds that are important to marine chemistry, including controlling carbon, nitrogen and sulfur redox processes (Hansel and Francis 2006). The film created by microbial concentration also creates a biological barrier that can either facilitate or impede transgression of materials across the air-water interface or other layer.