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Life as plankton: When fluid mechanics really matters

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Raymond E. Goldstein.

By definition, planktonic organisms drift with the water flows. But these millimetric organisms are not necessarily passive; many can swim and can sense the surrounding flow through mechanosensory hairs. But how useful can be flow sensing in a turbulent environment? To address this question, we show two examples of smart planktonic behavior: (1) we develop a model where plantkters choose a swimming direction as a function of the velocity gradient to “surf on turbulence” and move efficiently upwards; (2) we show how a plankter measuring the velocity gradient may track the position of a swimming target from its hydrodynamic signature.

This talk is part of the DAMTP BioLunch series.

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