Almahmud, Reem Abdullah J.
(2016)
Wavelengths in bioconvection patterns.
PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.
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Abstract
Unicellular bottomheavy swimming microorganisms are usually denser than the fluid in which they swim. In shallow suspensions, the bottom heaviness results in a gravitational torque that orients the cells to swim vertically upwards in the absence of fluid flow. Swimming cells thus accumulate at the upper surface to form a concentrated layer of cells. When the cell concentration is high enough, the layer overturns to form bioconvection patterns. Thin concentrated plumes of cells descend rapidly and cells return to the upper surface in wide, slowly moving upwelling plumes. When there is fluid flow, a second viscous torque is exerted on the swimming cells. The balance between the local shear flow viscous and the gravitational torques determines the cells' swimming direction, (gyrotaxis). In this thesis, the wavelengths of bioconvection patterns are studied experimentally as well as theoretically as follow;
First, in aquasystem it is rare to find one species lives individually and when they swim they can form complex patterns. Thus, a protocol for controlled experiments to mix two species of swimming algal cells of \emph{C. rienhardtii} and \emph{C. augustae} is systematically described and images of bioconvection patterns are captured. A method for analysing images using wavelets and extracting the local dominant wavelength in spatially varying patterns is developed. The variation of the patterns as a function of the total concentration and the relative concentration between two species is analysed.
Second, the linear stability theory of bioconvection for a suspension of two mixed species is studied. The dispersion relationship is computed using Fourier modes in order to calculate the neutral curves as a function of wavenumbers $k$ and $m$. The neutral curves are plotted to compare the instability onset of the suspension of the two mixed species with the instability onset of each species individually. This study could help us to understand which species contributes the most in the process of pattern formation.
Finally, predicting the most unstable wavelength was studied previously around a steady state equilibrium situation. Since assuming steady state equilibrium contradicts with reality, the pattern formation in a layer of finite depth of an evolving basic state is studied using the nonnormal modes approach. The nonnormal modes procedure identifies the optimal initial perturbation that can be obtained for a given time $t$ as well as a given set of parameters and wavenumber $k$. Then, we measure the size of the optimal perturbation as it grows with time considering a range of wavenumbers for the same set of parameters to be able to extract the most unstable wavelength.
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