New study examines density stratification on microorganisms in aquatic ecosystems

Mar 06, 2012

Microorganisms play pivotal functions in nature, particularly within aquatic ecosystems. Whether in an ocean or a lake, they are key players in the food chain and the vitality of individual ecosystems.

A team of researchers led by Arezoo M. Ardekani, the Rev. John Cardinal O'Hara, C.S.C., Assistant Professor of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Notre Dame, has shown that density stratification, a frequent feature of , has important ecological consequences on these small organisms.

The team recently published a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that demonstrates that density variations encountered by organisms at pycnoclines have a major effect on the flow field, energy expenditure and nutrient uptake of small organisms. Organisms at pycnoclines, regions of sharp vertical variation in fluid density, afford a competitive advantage due to smaller risk of predation. These results can be used to explain why an accumulation of organisms and particles, which leads to a wide range of environmental and oceanographic processes, is associated with pycnoclines .

Ardekani joined the University in 2011. Her research interests focus on the fundamental properties of multiphase flows of Newtonian and non-Newtonian fluids relevant to biofluids, and micro/nanofluids for use in biomimetic applications, , , and .

Most recently, she was awarded a 2012 National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Award for her work in fluid dynamics of bacterial aggregation and formation of biofilm streamers. Prior to joining the University, Ardekani served as a Shapiro Postdoctoral Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is currently a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Chemical Society, American Physical Society, American Society of Mechanical Engineers and Society of Rheology.

Explore further: Scientists throw light on the mechanism of plants' ticking clock

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Diatoms reveal freshwater pollution

May 04, 2010

Researchers in India have demonstrated that microscopic aquatic creatures could be used as the ecological equivalent of a canary in a coalmine for assessing inland freshwater lakes and ponds. Writing in the World Review of ...

Headwater stream nutrient enrichment disrupts food web

Dec 17, 2009

Human activity is increasing the supply of nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus, to stream systems all over the world. The conventional wisdom -- bolstered by earlier research -- has held that these additional nutrients ...

Recommended for you

Fighting bacteria—with viruses

Jul 24, 2014

Research published today in PLOS Pathogens reveals how viruses called bacteriophages destroy the bacterium Clostridium difficile (C. diff), which is becoming a serious problem in hospitals and healthcare institutes, due to its re ...

Atomic structure of key muscle component revealed

Jul 24, 2014

Actin is the most abundant protein in the body, and when you look more closely at its fundamental role in life, it's easy to see why. It is the basis of most movement in the body, and all cells and components ...

Brand new technology detects probiotic organisms in food

Jul 23, 2014

In the food industr, ity is very important to ensure the quality and safety of products consumed by the population to improve their properties and reduce foodborne illness. Therefore, a team of Mexican researchers ...

Protein evolution follows a modular principle

Jul 23, 2014

Proteins impart shape and stability to cells, drive metabolic processes and transmit signals. To perform these manifold tasks, they fold into complex three-dimensional shapes. Scientists at the Max Planck ...

User comments : 0