SURF

Neil Thomas

Marine Larvae in Turbulence

Bottom-dwelling marine animals produce microscopic larvae that are dispersed to new habitats via ocean currents. In order to direct their movements and settle on a suitable site, suspended larvae must respond to physical cues from the turbulent flow forces that act on them. Understanding the flow types that larvae are subjected to and their response patterns can give us insight into trends in marine larvae dispersion. To conduct this research, mesofluidic devices are built to simulate fluid flow around marine larvae, and their responses are recorded and analyzed. My project focuses on a particularly simple and prevalent type of fluid flow, and will confirm whether this type of flow can serve as a signal for larvae, and what magnitudes of force trigger larval response.

Message to Sponsor

The SURF/Rose Hills fellowship has not only allowed me to participate full time in laboratory research a crucial step in the development of every fledgling scientist but also to explore the field of biophysics and see the power of physical sciences when applied to biological systems. The work that I do this summer will inform my future coursework, as well as my potential concentration in graduate school, where I hope to continue in interdisciplinary fields of study.
  • Major: Chemistry, Engineering, Mathematics and Statistics
  • Sponsor: Rose Hills Foundation
  • Mentor: Mimi Koehl, Integrative Biology