October 6, 2020

From chemotaxis to climate change

A new video in the Werkstattgespräche series produced by ETH Zurich accompanies NCCR Microbiomes PI Roman Stocker on a diving expedition in the Greifensee. The Stocker lab at ETH Zurich designs and builds microfluidics devices to study the ocean microbiome.

In this short film, Stocker and PhD student Estelle Clerc explain how their microfluidics chip allows them to study chemotaxis, the movement of bacteria towards or away from chemicals. Particles made of dead phytoplankton that sediment in water bodies can be decomposed by bacteria that are attracted to them through chemotaxis. Because these particles are responsible for the export of vast amounts of carbon, the actions of bacteria can result in less atmospheric CO2 being sequestered, thus affecting climate change.

Besides chemotaxis, microfluidics and climate change, Stocker and producer Oliver Stebler discuss the coronavirus pandemic. As a member of the Swiss National COVID-19 Science Task Force, Stocker draws lessons from the pandemic that could help addres the climate crisis.

The film is available in German as part of the Science Visual collection. An English version of the film is currently being produced.