SUMMARY: The dispersal of an initial concentration of identical Brownian particles is accurately described by the solution of the conventional diffusion equation, and a diffusion coefficient can be assigned to the assembly of particles. However, the dispersal of an initial concentration of motile bacteria is not well described by the same solution, in spite of the similarity between the random motion of a bacterium and a Brownian particle.

Reasons for the failure of the Gaussian solution of the diffusion equation to describe the dispersal of are discussed. An equation is formulated which gives the concentration of dispersing organisms as a function of space and time if the speed distribution function of the assembly of organism is known and reproduction is suppressed. For three assumed speed distributions the results are compared with concentrations measured by previous authors.


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