Welcome to the Motility Database!


The Motility Database is an open archive of videos of microbial motility in three dimensions for scientists, educators, and the public.

Questions we intend to investigate are:

  • What role does microbial motility play in aquatic environments: oceans, lakes, and inside the pores of sea ice?
  • When microbes lose the ability to swim, what will make them swim again--temperature, amino acids, sugars? How long does it take to go from motile to non-motile?
  • Is microbial motility substantially different in extremely cold and nutrient poor environments (such as the Arctic) than in more temperate environments
  • How can motility be a biosignature that complements biochemical biosignatures of life on other planets?


  • Accessing the Motility Database

    To access to the motility database via anonymous ftp (read only), go to: Motility Database

    If you would like to contribute additional data or analysis, please send an email to motility@caltech.edu

    Most of the files in the database are in zipped collections - the unzipped collection provides an example of the file structure. Please contact us at the email address above for additional metadata details.



    Here's a Sample Video

    This video was recorded on July 14, 2014 and is of a Zebrafish embryo just after hatching. This video consists of a reconstructed hologram at a single z-plane.

    Note: DHM's capability of imaging fluid flow, which is highlighted by the fact that fluid flow can be seen throughout the body of the Zebrafish