Many planktonic organisms are motile and perceive their environment with flow sensors. Can they use flow sensing to travel faster in turbulence? To address this question, we consider plankters swimming at constant speed, whose goal is to move upwards. We propose an analytical behavior that allows plankters to choose a swimming direction according to the local flow gradients. We show numerically that such plankters can "surf" on turbulence and reach net vertical speeds up to twice their swimming speed. This physics-based model suggests that planktonic organisms can exploit turbulence features for navigation.
- Pub Date:
- October 2021
- Physics - Fluid Dynamics;
- Physics - Biological Physics
- Article: 5 pages, 5 figures. Supplemental: 6 pages, 3 figures. For associated open-source code, see https://github.com/C0PEP0D/sheld0n