More than 60 years ago, oceanographers predicted that the effect of swimming animals could be profound. Accounting for this effort has proven difficult, though, so it has not entered into today's models.
Now Kakani Katija and John Dabiri at the California Institute of Technology have developed a way to estimate the extent of "biogenic" mixing. After conducting field measurements on swimming jellyfish, they built models of how animals mix the waters ocean-wide and concluded that the effect may be extensive.
"Swimming animals may contribute to ocean mixing on the same level as winds and tides," says Katija. "This necessitates the inclusion of biogenic mixing sources in ocean circulation and global climate models."
Katija will present these findings this month at the 62nd Annual Meeting of the American Physical Society's (APS) Division of Fluid Dynamics will take place from November 22-24 at the Minneapolis Convention Center.
Most of this mixing is due to the displacement created by the movement of animal bodies through the water -- rather than by the turbulence that is stirred up by fish as they swim. This displacement is found to depend primarily on the shape of the animal rather than the dynamics of the animal's swimming motion.
Moreover, says Katija, only a small part of the mixing comes from the mighty creatures that inhabit the deep. Most of it is due to meeker, but much more plentiful, animals -- the tiny krill, copepods, and other small critters that make up the vast majority of organisms swimming in the ocean.
Abstract:MORE MEETING INFORMATION
Currently, the Division of Fluid Dynamics Virtual Press Room contains information related to the 2008 meeting. In mid-November, the Virtual Press Room will be updated for this year's meeting, and another news release will be sent out at that time.ONSITE WORKSPACE FOR REPORTERS
This year, selected entries from the 27th Annual Gallery of Fluid Motion will be hosted as part of the Fluid Dynamics Virtual Press Room. In mid-November, when the Virtual Press Room is launched, another announcement will be sent out.ABOUT THE APS DIVISION OF FLUID DYNAMICS
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