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Turbulent unmixing: how marine turbulence drives patchy distributions of motile phytoplankton

Durham, William M. and Climent, Éric and Barry, Michael and De Lillo, Filippo and Boffetta, Guido and Cencini, Massimo and Stocker, Roman Turbulent unmixing: how marine turbulence drives patchy distributions of motile phytoplankton. (2013) In: 66th Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Fluid Dynamics , 24 November 2013 - 26 November 2013 (Pittsburg, United States).

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Centimeter-scale patchiness in the distribution of phytoplankton increases the efficacy of many important ecological interactions in the marine food web. We show that turbulent fluid motion, usually synonymous with mixing, instead triggers intense small-scale patchiness in the distribution of motile phytoplankton. We use a suite of experiments, direct numerical simulations of turbulence, and analytical tools to show that turbulent shear and acceleration directs the motility of cells towards well-defined regions of flow, increasing local cell concentrations more than ten fold. This motility-driven `unmixing' offers an explanation for why motile cells are often more patchily distributed than non-motile cells and provides a mechanistic framework to understand how turbulence, whose strength varies profoundly in marine environments, impacts ocean productivity.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
Audience (conference):International conference without published proceedings
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Institution:French research institutions > Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - CNRS (FRANCE)
Other partners > Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche - CNR (ITALY)
Université de Toulouse > Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse - Toulouse INP (FRANCE)
Other partners > Massachusetts Institute of Technology - MIT (USA)
Other partners > Università degli studi di Torino - UNITO (ITALY)
Université de Toulouse > Université Toulouse III - Paul Sabatier - UT3 (FRANCE)
Other partners > University of Oxford (UNITED KINGDOM)
Laboratory name:
Deposited On:13 Dec 2013 14:58

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