Journal of Statistical Physics

, Volume 158, Issue 3, pp 665–698 | Cite as

Copepod Aggregations: Influences of Physics and Collective Behavior

  • Glenn R. FlierlEmail author
  • Nicholas W. Woods


Dense copepod aggregations form in Massachusetts Bay and provide an important resource for right whales. We re-examine the processes which might account for the high concentrations, investigating both horizontally convergent flow, which can increase the density of depth-keeping organisms, and social behavior. We argue that the two act in concert: social behavior creates small dense patches (on the scale of a few sensing radii); physical stirring brings them together so that they merge into aggregations with larger scales; it also moves them into areas of physical convergence which retain the increasingly large patch. But the turbulence can also break this apart, suggesting that the overall high density in the convergence zone will not be uniform but will instead be composed of multiple transient patches (which are still much larger than the sensing scale).


Biological-physical aggregation Social behavior Horizontally convergent flow Plumes 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary SciencesMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA
  2. 2.CNA CorporationArlingtonUSA

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