Toward a mechanistic understanding of the jumping behavior of zooplankton


Thursday, May 5 , 2011
Redfield Auditorium - 12:00 Noon
Dr. Houshuo Jiang
Associate Scientist Applied Ocean Physics & Engineering, WHOI

Jumping is a widespread behavior observed for zooplankton, such as copepods and ciliates. Significant questions have been raised about whether jumping is energetically more costly or hydrodynamically more dangerous (i.e. more easily detectable by rheotactic predators) than other behaviors, such as creating a feeding current and cruising.  To answer these questions, we have conducted a comprehensive investigation of the water flows imposed by copepod jumps by using a combination of theoretical hydrodynamic modeling, particle image velocimetry (PIV) measurements, and empirical data-driven computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations.  In this talk, we will present results on the spatiotemporal patterns and decay rates of jump-imposed water flows and jumping energetics and efficiency. We will discuss the ecological implications of these results by comparing the jumping behavior with those other behaviors and by comparing jumping between copepods and other zooplankton species.  We stress that a mechanistic understanding of these small-scale processes can provide important insights into understanding the larger-scale processes.