Accumulation of motile elongated micro-organisms in turbulence
2014 (English)In: Journal of Fluid Mechanics, ISSN 0022-1120, E-ISSN 1469-7645, Vol. 739, 22-36 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
We study the effect of turbulence on marine life by performing numerical simulations of motile micro-organisms, modelled as prolate spheroids, in isotropic homogeneous turbulence. We show that the clustering and patchiness observed in laminar flows, linear shear and vortex flows, are significantly reduced in a three-dimensional turbulent flow mainly because of the complex topology; elongated micro-organisms show some level of clustering in the case of swimmers without any preferential alignment whereas spherical swimmers remain uniformly distributed. Micro-organisms with one preferential swimming direction (e.g. gyrotaxis) still show significant clustering if spherical in shape, whereas prolate swimmers remain more uniformly distributed. Due to their large sensitivity to the local shear, these elongated swimmers react more slowly to the action of vorticity and gravity and therefore do not have time to accumulate in a turbulent flow. These results show how purely hydrodynamic effects can alter the ecology of micro-organisms that can vary their shape and their preferential orientation.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 739, 22-36 p.
biological fluid dynamics, micro-organism dynamics
Engineering and Technology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-143737DOI: 10.1017/jfm.2013.608ISI: 000331624200002ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84910642794OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-143737DiVA: diva2:708319
FunderSwedish Research CouncilSwedish e‐Science Research Center
QC 201403272014-03-272014-03-272014-03-27Bibliographically approved