Atmosphere Ocean Science Colloquium

Copepod Aggregations: Influences of Physics and Collective Behavior

Speaker: Glenn Flierl, MIT

Location: Warren Weaver Hall 1302

Date: Wednesday, March 26, 2014, 3:30 p.m.


Dense copepod aggregations form in Massachusetts Bay and provide an important resource for right whales. We re-examine the processes which might account for the high concentrations, investigating both horizontally convergent flow which can increase the density of depth-keeping organisms and social behavior. We argue that the two act in concert: social behavior creates small densepatches (on the scale of a few sensing radii); physical stirring brings them together so that they merge into aggregations with larger scales; it also moves them into areas of physical convergence which retain the increasingly large patch. But the turbulence can also break this apart, suggesting that the overall high density in the convergence zone will not be uniform but will instead be composed of multiple transient patches (which are still much larger than the sensing scale).