Characterization of intermittency in zooplankton behaviour in turbulence

  • François-Gaël MichalecEmail author
  • François G. Schmitt
  • Sami Souissi
  • Markus Holzner
Regular Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Multi-scale phenomena in complex flows and flowing matter


We consider Lagrangian velocity differences of zooplankters swimming in still water and in turbulence. Using cumulants, we quantify the intermittency properties of their motion recorded using three-dimensional particle tracking velocimetry. Copepods swimming in still water display an intermittent behaviour characterized by a high probability of small velocity increments, and by stretched exponential tails. Low values arise from their steady cruising behaviour while heavy tails result from frequent relocation jumps. In turbulence, we show that at short time scales, the intermittency signature of active copepods clearly differs from that of the underlying flow, and reflects the frequent relocation jumps displayed by these small animals. Despite these differences, we show that copepods swimming in still and turbulent flow belong to the same intermittency class that can be modelled by a log-stable model with non-analytical cumulant generating function. Intermittency in swimming behaviour and relocation jumps may enable copepods to display oriented, collective motion under strong hydrodynamic conditions and thus, may contribute to the formation of zooplankton patches in energetic environments.

Graphical abstract


Topical Issue: Multi-scale phenomena in complex flows and flowing matter 


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Copyright information

© EDP Sciences, SIF, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • François-Gaël Michalec
    • 1
    Email author
  • François G. Schmitt
    • 2
  • Sami Souissi
    • 3
  • Markus Holzner
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Environmental EngineeringETH ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.UMR 8187, LOG, Laboratoire d’Océanologie et de GéosciencesCNRS, Univ. Lille, Univ. Littoral Cote d’OpaleWimereuxFrance
  3. 3.UMR 8187, LOG, Laboratoire d’Océanologie et de GéosciencesUniv. Lille, CNRS, Univ. Littoral Cote d’OpaleWimereuxFrance

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