Have you ever wondered what all that slimy green stuff is on the side of a ship or on rocks at the beach? Well, that is biofouling, and it all starts with an aquatic (living in or near water) biofilm. See here for how biofilms develop into biofouling.
An aquatic biofilm is simply a lot of bacteria and algae all living together within a jelly-like substance. The jelly protects them from the outside world and helps them stick to surfaces. For example, on the side of the ship. Any submerged surface exposed to a marine or freshwater environment will be colonised quickly by microbes that form biofilms.
Biofilms on structures and vessels
Biofouling grows on ships, buoys, sonar devices, pontoons, offshore structures, oil installations, platforms, underwater cables, underwater acoustic instruments, seawater cooling systems and marinas. Issues include increased costs, reduced speed, environmental concerns, corrosion and safety hazards. Biofilms and biofouling cause big problems for ships – they can damage surfaces and in large numbers they can even […]
Biofilms are found everywhere, and are highly variable and adaptable, which means no two will be the same! Unlike other biofilms, such as medical and wastewater biofilms that are predominantly comprised of bacteria, aquatic (living in or near water) biofilms also contain microalgae. The ratio of bacteria to microalgae depends on environmental conditions such as […]
Do marine creatures have problems with biofilms and biofouling? Looking at nature for antifouling lessons reveals several examples of both physical and chemical ways that marine organisms reduce biofouling on their outer surfaces. Physical controls include: reducing drag, adhesion and wettability; having a smoother surface; grooming; active sloughing of the outer surface; and various other […]