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Preferential Sampling and Small-Scale Clustering of Gyrotactic Microswimmers in Turbulence

Journal article
Authors Kristian Gustavsson
Fanny Berglund
Per R. Jonsson
Bernhard Mehlig
Published in Physical Review Letters
Volume 116
Issue 10
ISSN 0031-9007
Publication year 2016
Published at Department of Physics (GU)
Language en
Keywords Turbulence; Down-welling; Fluid velocities; Gravitational torque; Motile micro-organisms; Preferential samplings; Small scale; Spatial clustering; Statistical modeling; Sampling
Subject categories Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources, Fluid Mechanics and Acoustics, Geophysical Engineering


Recent studies show that spherical motile microorganisms in turbulence subject to gravitational torques gather in down-welling regions of the turbulent flow. By analyzing a statistical model we analytically compute how shape affects the dynamics, preferential sampling, and small-scale spatial clustering. We find that oblong organisms may spend more time in up-welling regions of the flow, and that all organisms are biased to regions of positive fluid-velocity gradients in the upward direction. We analyze small-scale spatial clustering and find that oblong particles may either cluster more or less than spherical ones, depending on the strength of the gravitational torques. © 2016 American Physical Society.

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