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 research uses experimental and numerical techniques from biofluids to approach questions in marine ecology, biology, and biological oceanography in new ways.
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.
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.
I am interested in 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.