Effect of fully characterized unsteady flow on population growth of the dinoflagellate Lingulodinium polyedrum

Latz, Michael I., Jeffery Allen, Sutanu Sarkar, Jim Rohr

Limnol. Oceanogr., 54(4), 2009, 1243-1256 | DOI: 10.4319/lo.2009.54.4.1243

ABSTRACT: Dinoflagellate population growth is inhibited by fluid motion, which is typically characterized by some average flow property, regardless if the flow is steady or unsteady. This study compares the effect of fully characterized steady and unsteady flow on net population growth of the red tide dinoflagellate Lingulodinium polyedrum. The unsteady flow fields were generated using oscillatory laminar Couette flow and characterized analytically to provide complete knowledge of the fluid shear exposure over space and time throughout the chamber. Experimental conditions were selected so all cells experienced a similar shear exposure regardless of their position within the chamber. Unsteady flow with maximum shears of 6.4 s-1 and 6.7 s-1 and an average absolute shear of 4 s-1, comparable with levels found at the ocean surface on a windy day, resulted in higher levels of growth inhibition than for steady Couette flow with shears of 4 and 8 s-1. Over the parameter space studied, growth inhibition increased with increasing treatment duration (5-120 min) but was insensitive to oscillation period (60-600 s) or whether the unsteady flow changed in direction. These results indicate that over the parameter space studied, unsteady flow is more inhibitory to net growth than steady flow, for the same average flow conditions, and demonstrate that flow characterization on the basis only of average flow properties is inadequate for comparing population growth in unsteady and steady flows.

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