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We show that gyrotactic motility within a steady vortical flow leads to tightly clustered aggregations of microorganisms. Two dimensionless numbers, characterizing the relative swimming speed and stability against overturning by vorticity, govern the coupling between motility and flow. Exploration of parameter space reveals a striking array of patchiness regimes. Aggregations are found to form within a few overturning time scales, suggesting that vortical flows might be capable of efficiently separating species with different motility characteristics.

Original publication

DOI

10.1103/PhysRevLett.106.238102

Type

Journal article

Journal

Phys Rev Lett

Publication Date

10/06/2011

Volume

106

Keywords

Biomechanical Phenomena, Biophysical Phenomena, Movement, Swimming, Viscosity, Water Microbiology