Oregon Institute of Marine Biology
University of Oregon
I study how marine organisms interact with their fluid environments across systems ranging from diatom sinking to shark swimming. My biofluids research uses advanced imaging and numerical modeling to approach questions in marine ecology, biology, and biological oceanography in new ways.
I study diatom sinking behavior. Diatoms are important contributors to global carbon fixation, and sinking is a major carbon sink. Although diatoms are unicellular and are unable to swim, they have a remarkable ability to control their sinking speeds on very short time scales, which includes an unsteady sinking behavior in which they rapidly oscillate their sinking speeds within seconds, as shown in this time stacked image of Coscinodiscus wailesii diatoms.
I use advanced imaging techniques to study the behavior and morphology of marine organisms. This is an example of a partial reconstruction from a 3D scan of the siphonophore Nanomia bijuga, showing the arrangement of tentilla, structures that Nanomia uses to capture its crustacean prey. Click the image to open an animation.
I study how fluid dynamics affects how marine organisms as diverse as lampreys, siphonophores, and mako sharks swim. This image shows how a mako shark’s scales rapidly bristles in turbulent flow, reducing blackflow and drag.
Benthic suspension feeders like bivalves and tunicates concentrate carbon and nutrients from the water column and transport it to the sea floor. I am interested in how fluid dynamics affects and limits suspension feeding. For example, the suspension feeding rates of the juvenile Mya arenaria clam shown in this time stacked particle image are limited by the size of its inhalant siphon opening.