Ocean Biofluids Lab

at the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium

Every part of a marine organism's life is affected by interactions with fluids. We study bio-fluid interactions across systems ranging from diatom sinking to shark swimming. We use advanced imaging and numerical modeling to approach questions in marine ecology, biology, and biological oceanography.

Projects

Diatom sinking

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.

Shark swimming

We 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.

Juvenile clam suspension feeding

Benthic suspension feeders like bivalves and tunicates concentrate carbon and nutrients from the water column and transport it to the sea floor. We study 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

3D scans of gelatinous organisms

We 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.

Publications