Devaki Bhaya wants to understand how environmental stressors, such as light, nutrients, and viral attacks are sensed by and affect photosynthetic microorganisms. She is also interested in understanding the mechanisms behind microorganism movements, and how individuals in groups communicate, evolve, share resources. To these ends, she focuses on one-celled, aquatic cyanobacteria, in the lab with model organisms and with organisms in naturally occurring communities.
Phototaxis is the ability of organisms to move directionally in response to a light source. Many cyanobacteria exhibit phototaxis, both towards and away from light. The ability to move into optimal light for