Bacterial communities form when free swimming bacteria reversibly attach to a surface. At high cell densities, many species trigger processes involved in biofilm formation, including the production of extracellular matrix. The matrix adheres the community to the surface and provides protection from predators and antibiotics. As the biofilm matures, bacteria specialize to perform different tasks within the biofilm. For instance, a subset of cells sprouts flagella and swims off from the community to colonize new surfaces.
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