## Abstract

We study the influence of turbulence on upward motion of phytoplankton. Interaction with the flow is described by the Pedley-Kessler model considering spherical microorganisms. We find a range of parameters when the upward drift is only weakly perturbed or when turbulence completely randomizes the drift direction. When the perturbation is small, the drift is either determined by the local vorticity or is Gaussian. We find a range of parameters where the phytoplankton interaction with the flow can be described consistently as diffusion of orientation in effective potential. By solving the corresponding Fokker-Planck equation we find exponential steady-state distribution of phytoplankton's propulsion orientation. We further identify the range of parameters where phytoplankton's drift velocity with respect to the flow is determined uniquely by its position. In this case, one can describe phytoplankton's motion by a smooth flow and phytoplankton concentrates on fractal. We find fractal dimensions and demonstrate that phytoplankton forms vertical stripes in space with a nonisotropic pair-correlation function of concentration increased in the vertical direction. The probability density function of the distance between two particles obeys power law with the negative exponent given by the ratio of integrals of the turbulent energy spectrum. We find the regime of strong clustering where the exponent is of order one so that turbulence increases the rate of collisions by a large factor. The predictions hold for Navier-Stokes turbulence and stand for testing.

Original language | English |
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Article number | 013017 |

Journal | Physical Review E |

Volume | 92 |

Issue number | 1 |

DOIs | |

State | Published - 24 Jul 2015 |

## All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

- Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
- Statistics and Probability
- Condensed Matter Physics