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Kinematics and Energetics of Swimming Zooplankton

  • The work presented in this thesis investigated interactions of selected biophysical processes that affect zooplankton ecology at smaller scales. In this endeavour, the extent of changes in swimming behaviour and fluid disturbances produced by swimming Daphnia in response to changing physical environments were quantified. In the first research question addressed within this context, size and energetics of hydrodynamic trails produced by Daphnia swimming in non-stratified still waters were characterized and quantified as a function of organisms’ size and their swimming patterns. The results revealed that neither size nor the swimming pattern of Daphnia affects the width of induced trails or dissipation rates. Nevertheless, as the size and swimming velocity of the organisms increased, trail volume increased in proportional to the cubic power of Reynolds number, and the biggest trail volume was about 500 times the body volume of the largest daphnids. Larger spatial extent of fluid perturbation and prolonged period to decay caused by bigger trail volumes would play a significant role in zooplankton ecology, e.g. increasing the risk of predation. The study also found that increased trail volume brought about significantly enhanced total dissipated power at higher Reynolds number, and the magnitudes of total dissipated power observed varied in the range of (1.3-10)X10-9 W. Furthermore, this study provided strong evidence that swimming speed of Daphnia and total dissipated power in Daphnia trails exceeded those of some other selected zooplankton species. In recognizing turbulence as an intrinsic environmental perturbation in aquatic habitats, this thesis also examined the response of Daphnia to a range of turbulence flows, which correspond to turbu-lence levels that zooplankton generally encounter in their habitats. Results indicated that within the range of turbulent intensities to which the Daphnia are likely to be exposed in their natural habitats, increasing turbulence compelled the organisms to enhance their swimming activity and swim-ming speed. However, as the turbulence increased to extremely high values (10-4 m2s-3), Daphnia began to withdraw from their active swimming behaviour. Findings of this work also demonstrated that the threshold level of turbulence at which animals start to alleviate from largely active swimming is about 10-6 m2s-3. The study further illustrated that during the intermediate range of turbu-lence; 10-7 - 10-6 m2s-3, kinetic energy dissipation rates in the vicinity of the organisms is consistently one order of magnitude higher than that of the background turbulent flow. Swarming, a common conspicuous behavioural trait observed in many zooplankton species, is considered to play a significant role in defining freshwater ecology of their habitats from food exploitation, mate encountering to avoiding predators through hydrodynamic flow structures produced by them, therefore, this thesis also investigated implications of Daphnia swarms at varied abundance & swarm densities on their swimming kinematics and induced flow field. The results showed that Daphnia aggregated in swarms with swarm densities of (1.1-2.3)x103 L-1, which exceeded the abundance densities by two orders of magnitude (i.e. 1.7 - 6.7 L-1). The estimated swarm volume decreased from 52 cm3 to 6.5 cm3, and the mean neighbouring distance dropped from 9.9 to 6.4 body lengths. The findings of this work also showed that mean swimming trajectories were primarily horizontal concentric circles around the light source. Mean flow speeds found to be one order of magnitude lower than the corresponding swimming speeds of Daphnia. Furthermore, this study provided evidences that the flow fields produced by swarming Daphnia differed considerably between unidirectional vortex swarming and bidirectional swimming at low and high abundances respectively.

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Author:Lalith Niroshana Wickramarathna
Referee:Andreas Lorke, Noß Christian
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Date of completion:2016/07/28
Date of publication:2016/07/28
Publishing institution:Universität Koblenz, Universitätsbibliothek
Granting institution:Universität Koblenz-Landau, Campus Landau, Fachbereich 7
Date of final exam:2016/07/22
Release Date:2016/07/28
Tag:energetics; kinematics
fluid disturbances; swarming; swimming behaviour; zooplankton
GND Keyword:Daphnia; Zooplankton
Number of pages:xvii, 93
Institutes:Fachbereich 7
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 50 Naturwissenschaften / 500 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik
Licence (German):License LogoEs gilt das deutsche Urheberrecht: § 53 UrhG