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Turbulence and marine life
Ramon Margalef

The decay of the mechanical energy of waves, currents and tides generates turbulence that propagates downwards, diffuses nutrients and influences in different ways the movement of organisms. Light and turbulence combine in creating local conditions for primary production. Mechanical properties of organisms (size, shape, production of mucilages) interact under different regimes of turbulence. Turbulence is a main factor in determining the stratification of populations. Organisms manipulate turbulence with results that could have positive selection value. It is suggested that many organic constructions, like the limbs of copepods, provided with setae, rather than as filters, function as manipulators of the turbulent regimes at a small scale, in ways that increase the effectivity of feeding currents, introducing longitudinal asymetries in the turbulent currents, in a way that could allow to speak of a "turbulence valve".

Contents of this volume Sci. Mar. 61(Suppl.1) : 109-123 Back PDF
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