Microfluidic simulation of a colonial diatom chain reveals oscillatory movement

Johannes Srajer, Burhanuddin Yeop Majlis, Ille C. Gebeshuber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Diatoms are single-celled organisms with rigid parts in relative motion at the micro-and nanometer length scales. Some diatom species form colonies comprising many cells. In this manuscript, the results of a two-dimensional finite element computer model are presented. This model was established to discover if diatom colonies start to exhibit some kind of »pumping« behaviour when subjected to water flow. To analyze this computationally, a model diatom colony with continuously repeated units of ten cells is investigated in a fluid dynamic simulation. In this first simple model, undisturbed fluid flow is allowed for between the single cells. The cells do not move actively, and are solely moved by the water. The initial fluid velocity is assumed between 0.01 m s-1 and 1 m s-1. A computational result that does not change anymore with time is called a steady state solution. Such a steady state solution is reached in all calculations performed. The steady state for a chain where initially all diatoms are spaced equally (equidistant spacing) has forces that encourage the formation of cell pairs with less distance between one another. These forces result from the flow of the surrounding fluid. The steady state for a chain with initially paired cells shows the opposite effect: the pairs tend to un-pair and head for the equidistant state again. The mutual change in forces between these two states, i.e., paired and unpaired formations, suggests that these two steady states lead into each other: The computer simulations suggest that a diatom colony subjected to water flow exhibits some kind of oscillatory movement. Such movement might facilitate nutrient uptake of the diatom colony.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431-441
Number of pages11
JournalActa Botanica Croatica
Volume68
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2009

Fingerprint

Bacillariophyceae
diatom
simulation
cells
computer simulation
water flow
fluid
fluid dynamics
nutrient uptake
fluid flow
pumping
spacing
fluid mechanics
spatial distribution
organisms
fluids

Keywords

  • Computer simulation
  • Diatom chain
  • Fluid dynamics
  • Hydroelastics
  • Nutrient uptake

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Cite this

Microfluidic simulation of a colonial diatom chain reveals oscillatory movement. / Srajer, Johannes; Yeop Majlis, Burhanuddin; Gebeshuber, Ille C.

In: Acta Botanica Croatica, Vol. 68, No. 2, 10.2009, p. 431-441.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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