When microscopic organisms swim in their natural habitats, they are simultaneously transported by ambient currents, waves, and turbulence. Therefore, to understand how swimming affects the movement of very small creatures through the environment, we need to study their behavior in realistic water flow conditions. The purpose of the work described here was to develop a series of integrated field and laboratory measurements at a variety of scales that enable us to record high-resolution videos of the behavior of microscopic organisms exposed to realistic spatio-temporal patterns of (1) water velocities and (2) distributions of chemical cues that affect their behavior. We have been developing these approaches while studying the swimming behavior in flowing water of the microscopic larvae of various bottom-dwelling marine animals. In shallow marine habitats, the oscillatory water motion associated with waves can make dramatic differences to water flow on the scales that affect trajectories of microscopic larvae.
Experiments in Fluids – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 21, 2007
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