Physical Oceanography

Transport and behaviour of small marine individuals

Particles and organisms in a fluid experience a majority of small-scale physical forces acting on their body. Those forces doesn’t necessarily act as a handicap, but can likewise promote the animals migration e.g. into nursery grounds.

Small scale physical forcing on planktonic organisms
Small scale physical forcing on planktonic organisms
Marc Hufnagl

Main content

Marine animals are often exposed to very challenging environments with large gradients in temperature and salinity, strong currents and like e.g. in the North Sea quickly altering current velocities. Thus the animals need to develop suitable strategies not only to survive but, to utilize the specific environment for e.g. migration strategies.

Animals in fluids are exposed to various forces such as friction, gravitation and buoyancy, but with the right shape they would also experience dynamical uplift (like an aeroplane) when set in a current field. This uplift can potentially be used to get into the current stream during a specific tidal phase and help animals to their nursery grounds at the coast. Here, we aim to understand the combined forcing acting on marine individuals and to develop formulation for implementation into models.