Copepods encounter rates from a model of escape jump behaviour in turbulence

Research paper by H. Ardeshiri, F. G. Schmitt, S. Souissi, F. Toschi, E. Calzavarini

Indexed on: 10 Feb '17Published on: 10 Feb '17Published in: arXiv - Quantitative Biology - Populations and Evolution


A key ecological parameter for planktonic copepods studies is their interspecies encounter rate which is driven by their behaviour and is strongly influenced by turbulence of the surrounding environment. A distinctive feature of copepods motility is their ability to perform quick displacements, often dubbed jumps, by means of powerful swimming strokes. Such a reaction has been associated to an escape behaviour from flow disturbances due to predators or other external dangers. In the present study, the encounter rate of copepods in a developed turbulent flow with intensity comparable to the one found in copepods' habitat is numerically investigated. This is done by means of a Lagrangian copepod (LC) model that mimics the jump escape reaction behaviour from localised high-shear rate fluctuations in the turbulent flows. Our analysis shows that the encounter rate for copepods of typical perception radius of ~ {\eta}, where {\eta} is the dissipative scale of turbulence, can be increased by a factor up to ~ 100 compared to the one experienced by passively transported fluid tracers. Furthermore, we address the effect of introducing in the LC model a minimal waiting time between consecutive jumps. It is shown that any encounter-rate enhancement is lost if such time goes beyond the dissipative time-scale of turbulence, {\tau}_{\eta}. Because typically in the ocean {\eta} ~ 0.001m and {\tau}_{\eta} ~ 1s, this provides stringent constraints on the turbulent-driven enhancement of encounter-rate due to a purely mechanical induced escape reaction.