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Mixing and Photosynthesis around Pulsing Soft Corals

Why do these corals pulse?

Corals in the family Xenidae are the only known animals that move in this way for a purpose other than locomotion. It is hypothesized that the pulsing facilitates the photosynthesis of their symbiotic algae, providing the corals with energy.

Project goals:
1) Use numerical methods to understand the fluid-structure interactions of the pulsing behavior and the resulting fluid flow 
2) Couple the fluid dynamics to a photosynthesis model to understand the role of fluid and concentration properties on photosynthesis
3) Use the fluid flow and the photosynthesis dynamics to quantify the mixing in this system
4) Use muscle models to drive coral motion.
5) Contribute methodology to open-source code

Video from M. Kremien, et al, “Benefit of pulsation in soft corals,” PNAS, 110 (22), 2013.


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