This week, Russell Arnott from the University of Bath, is visiting Umeå Marine Sciences Centre. In his research, he is using UMF's mesocosms to determine to what degree the size and shape of a particular phytoplankton species dictates how it interacts with different levels of turbulence.
What do you hope to find out? - I want to see if the shape has an impact on what species will become dominant in different environments. Around Bath we have problems with algae blooming in our fresh water reservoirs. They are testing different methods to get rid of the problem, like stirring the water with bubble pipes or gigantic impellors. Keeping the impellors constantly running is a big cost and there is also a fear that too much stirring will release manganese, that makes the water brown and taste bad. So this is an area where the results of my research might be of use, says Russell Arnott.
As a part of his research project, Russell is also creating scale models of phytoplankton in a 3D-printer to be able to study how different shapes interacts with turbulence.