OATAO - Open Archive Toulouse Archive Ouverte Open Access Week

Turbulence drives microscale patches 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 Turbulence drives microscale patches of motile phytoplankton. (2013) Nature Communications, 4. 1-7. ISSN 2041-1723

[img]
Preview
(Document in English)

PDF (Author's version) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
8MB

Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms3148

Abstract

Patchiness plays a fundamental role in phytoplankton ecology by dictating the rate at which individual cells encounter each other and their predators. The distribution of motile phytoplankton species is often considerably more patchy than that of non-motile species at submetre length scales, yet the mechanism generating this patchiness has remained unknown. Here we show that strong patchiness at small scales occurs when motile phytoplankton are exposed to turbulent flow. We demonstrate experimentally that Heterosigma akashiwo forms striking patches within individual vortices and prove with a mathematical model that this patchiness results from the coupling between motility and shear. When implemented within a direct numerical simulation of turbulence, the model reveals that cell motility can prevail over turbulent dispersion to create strong fractal patchiness, where local phytoplankton concentrations are increased more than 10-fold. This "unmixing" mechanism likely enhances ecological interactions in the plankton and offers mechanistic insights into how turbulence intensity impacts ecosystem productivity.

Item Type:Article
Audience (journal):International peer-reviewed journal
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 > Università degli Studi di Genova - UNIGE (ITALY)
Other partners > University of Oxford (UNITED KINGDOM)
Laboratory name:
Statistics:download
Deposited On:17 Oct 2013 10:15

Repository Staff Only: item control page