Bacteria usually live in mixed communities with many different kinds of bacteria present. But it’s been largely unknown how these communities are organized, because the technology didn’t exist to see how they are structured in space.
A “hedgehog” structure in dental plaque, collected from a healthy volunteer using a toothpick. Corynebacteria, shown in magenta, form the core of the structure; other bacteria inhabit the structure at characteristic positions.
Credit: Jessica Mark Welch/Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), Woods Hole