Free Essay - Life at Small Scale: The Behavior of Microbes

Published: 2023-02-12
Free Essay - Life at Small Scale: The Behavior of Microbes
Type of paper:  Book review
Categories:  Knowledge Biology Physics Books
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1523 words
13 min read

The invention of microscopes fostered an understanding of the nature of microorganisms, which resulted in increased studies on microbes. The book, Life at Small Scale: The Behavior of Microbes by David Dusenbery provides readers with fascinating and influential knowledge on the inhabitants of the microorganisms that exist within the body and in the surroundings as well. Most of the organisms that Dusenbery focused on include bacteria, protozoa, fungi, and other creatures that can be characterized as microbes. Primarily, this paper reviews, Life at Small Scale: The Behavior of Microbes, a book that utilizes extensive citations to foster an understanding of nutrition and the overall behavior of microbes to a reader.

Trust banner

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

Main Points in the Book

Dusenbery is a biophysicist who showcased his knowledge in the book, Life at Small Scale: The Behavior of Microbes, which focused on how microbes use and obtain information from the environment within which they reside. The author focused on the survival mechanisms of microorganisms in their daily routines of meeting the challenges of getting food and avoiding predators. Just like any other living organisms, microbes have to fight for their survival. They face threats of predation and could die from starvation. With this in mind, these organisms need to adapt to their environment in a way that enables them to access food and meet their other basic needs. Importantly, Dusenbery (1996) argued that microbes are not as simple as people presume. The organisms have a small size, but often develop complex behavior that appears to respond to the physical demands of their surroundings.

Further, Dusenbery (1996) described a microbe as an organism that is small in that it lacks a circulation system and uses the process of diffusion to take in and excrete wastes. Toadstools, planarians, copepods, and nematodes are included in the author's definition of a microbe since they occupy life at a significantly small scale. The author presents a different and exciting view of the behavior of the microorganisms. Dusenbery (1996) argued that physical laws, such as gravity, momentum, and surface tension, have primarily influenced the lives and behavior of large creatures. The microorganisms are often restricted by viscosity and surface tension, turbulence and drag, but remain dependent on the process of diffusion to allow for the metabolism processes to take place. Mainly, the author implies that unknown parameters often determine the behavior of the microbes. In addition to that, Dusenbery (1996) described organisms with unique ways of moving, communicating, eating, resisting enemies, and reproducing. He categorized fungi as microbes that launch their spores to forming projectiles when under threat or any attack while magnetic bacteria align themselves with the magnetic earth field. Similarly, the author describes microbes that tend to disperse when humans sneeze. It is worth noting that an array of characters and creatures have been used in Dusenberry's book that aid in the exploration of the lives and environment of the microbes in a detailed manner.


Dunsebery's book focuses on microorganisms, which are critical participants in the life web. Besides, microbes often have a substantial effect on humankind and the environment. Some microorganisms cause diseases, while others are a cure for different ailments. Other microbes are used to decompose and ferment products, which facilitate the recycling programs. Dusenbery analyzes the creatures from a different angle. The author indicates how microbes adapt to physical laws differently for them to survive and later compares them to humans' adaptation techniques. The perspective at which Dusenbery analyzes the microorganisms makes his book unique when compared to other publications focusing on the creatures.

The book reminds a reader of the wonders of the world, particularly the existence and behavior of organisms that cannot be seen with a naked eye. Notably, the author utilizes an array of colored photographs and illustrations to describe the composition and the behavior of the different microbes in existence. Also, the book is informative since it teaches a learner of how the creatures move, feed, and reproduce. Particularly, Dusenbery discusses how microorganisms fight and defend themselves from predators. In clear and compelling language, Dusenbery explains the constrictions surrounding the existence of microorganisms such as the effects of surface tension, viscosity, and molecular pommeling.

Additionally, Dusenberry introduces a reader to the biophysical concepts that describe the movement, nutritional, and survival mechanisms of microorganisms. Each chapter of the book contains a series of "why" questions. The author is keen to provide answers and verified explanations based on investigative research. Importantly, the book utilizes a variety of citations from known scientists and researchers who have conducted a prior study on microbes. Primarily, the use of references and extracts implies that Dusenbery's work also includes the studies conducted by other researchers on the discipline hence affirming the informative nature of the book. While reading the book, a reader often feels their active involvement in the experimentation process that results in conclusions. Besides, a reader is likely to understand some areas on microbes that need further research to answer the unanswered questions.

Consequently, Dusenbery's outlook on microbes provokes readers to some extent. It enables a reader to think about the behavior of the microbes further. For instance, the thought that bacteria must swim fast or not swim at all helps to ensure that they outpace diffusion. However, a reader could further think whether bacteria are the only organisms that have wheels in the locomotive systems. Mainly, a reader's thoughts are also provoked at this instance where a reader has to conduct further research. Primarily, this reiterates the fact that the book has rewarding and several insights. Microbiology students are likely to benefit and gain significant knowledge from the book. Teachers and researchers, on the other hand, would also find the book useful when teaching critical concepts on microbes to the learners. With this in mind, it is clear that the book is valuable and would be a useful aide to college texts on the discipline. The illustrations and citations used help to enable a reader to pursue the topics in-depth. The lavish figures and studies in Dusenbery's book reveal the strange living creatures that thrive in the unseen world around humans.


First, I think the article is well informative and purposely meant for microbiology learners, teachers, and researchers. The use of citations and other research materials allow readers, especially the curious ones, to conduct further studies on the research topic. Therefore, this helps in creating a knowledge base on the discipline. Secondly, the article utilizes colorful graphics and images critical in allowing a reader to get a mental picture of the main microbes discussed. Thus, this helps in fostering an understanding of the main points that Dusenbery raises in the book. As I read through the book, I recognized the two primary audiences. They include physical scientists that are interested in aspects of bio-fluid dynamics and swimming microorganisms and biological scientists that seek an understanding of the microbiological world. The use of figures and pictures are beneficial to the two distinct audiences given above since it provides a clear definition of all the variables.

One of the main shortcomings of the book, from my perspective, is the poor color quality of images of the microorganisms. Most of the readers were likely to find the diversity of microbes and their life, which includes the different sizes, shapes, and forms of appendages, exciting and captivating. Having clear images, thus, would emphasize the essential themes that Dusenbery raises in his book. Convergent evolution is one of the topics that Dusenbery could explain well with the use of high-quality images. Secondly, Dusenbery's definition of the microbes is not necessary since it could easily confuse microbiology students studying the book. The description of microorganisms as small creatures that lack a circulatory system is quite general. Apart from these shortcomings, the book is well-written, considering that it covers a range of coverage and topics. Moreover, I am confident that microbiology learners will enjoy the book, Life at Small Scale: The Behavior of Microbes. Mainly, the book is elegant since Dusenbery interchanges and interweaves the concepts of physics in the characterization of the microorganisms. The knowledge gained from this book is vital in allowing readers to understand the world from a human and global scale.


To conclude, this paper reviews the book, Life at Small Scale: The Behavior of Microbes by David Dusenbery. Importantly, this article includes the main points discussed by the author, analyzes them, and provides a personal opinion of the book's content. Dusenbery focused on the behavior of microbes by analyzing their feeding, nutrition, reproduction, and defense mechanisms that are essential for survival. Also, the content provided by the author is informative and allows a reader to conduct further research with extensive citations and bibliography, which references the works of other researchers. Similarly, the author familiarizes a reader with the wonders of the world, particularly organisms that cannot be seen through naked eyes. The personal opinion provided about the book includes the distinct audience that consists of both physical and biological scientists. Some shortcomings realized when reading the book are the unclear diagrams of images and figures.


Dusenbery, D. B. (1996). Life at Small Scale: The Behavior of Microbes. New York: Scientific American Library.

Cite this page

Free Essay - Life at Small Scale: The Behavior of Microbes. (2023, Feb 12). Retrieved from

Request Removal

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the SpeedyPaper website, please click below to request its removal:

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism