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Journal Articles Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics Year : 2024

Clustering of settling microswimmers in turbulence

Jingran Qiu
Eric Climent
Lihao Zhao
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Abstract

Abstract. Clustering of plankton plays a vital role in several biological activities, including feeding, predation, and mating. Gyrotaxis is one of the mechanisms that induces clustering. A recent study (Candelier et al., 2022) reported a fluid inertial torque acting on a spherical microswimmer, which has the same effect as a gyrotactic torque. In this study, we model plankton cells as microswimmers that are subject to gravitational sedimentation as well as a fluid inertial torque. We use direct numerical simulations to obtain the trajectories of swimmers in homogeneous isotropic turbulence. We also investigate swimmers' clustering using Voronoï analysis. Our findings indicate that fluid inertial torque leads to notable clustering, with its intensity depending on the swimming and settling speeds of swimmers. Using Voronoï analysis, we demonstrate that swimmers preferentially sample downwelling regions where clustering is more prevalent.
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hal-04578628 , version 1 (17-05-2024)

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Jingran Qiu, Zhiwen Cui, Eric Climent, Lihao Zhao. Clustering of settling microswimmers in turbulence. Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics, 2024, 31 (2), pp.229-236. ⟨10.5194/npg-31-229-2024⟩. ⟨hal-04578628⟩
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