Dynamics of Interactions between Bacteria and Virulent Bacteriophage

  • Richard E. Lenski
Part of the Advances in Microbial Ecology book series (AMIE, volume 10)


The interactions of bacteria and their viruses (bacteriophage) are, by and large, ones of trophic exploitation. In fact, “phage” is derived from the Greek word for “devour.” Using the criterion of relative size, the interactions can be defined as parasitism (Bull and Slater, 1982). Because replication by most virulent phage necessarily results in bacterial death, these interactions could also be called predation. Certain interactions could even be termed mutualistic, as some temperate phage encode phenotypic characteristics that are of direct benefit to their hosts. Semantics aside, the fundamental ecological question that I will attempt to address in this chapter is: What role do bacteriophage infections play in limiting the abundance of bacteria?


Resistant Bacterium Chemostat Culture Equilibrium Density Phage Genome Phage Infection 
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© Plenum Press, New York 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard E. Lenski
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyUniversity of CaliforniaIrvineUSA

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