Simultaneous measurement of 3D zooplankton trajectories and surrounding fluid velocity field in complex flows

Deepak Adhikari, Brad J. Gemmell, Michael P. Hallberg, Ellen K. Longmire, Edward J. Buskey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


We describe an automated, volumetric particle image velocimetry (PIV) and tracking method that measures time-resolved, 3D zooplankton trajectories and surrounding volumetric fluid velocity fields simultaneously and non-intrusively. The method is demonstrated for groups of copepods flowing past a wall-mounted cylinder. We show that copepods execute escape responses when subjected to a strain rate threshold upstream of a cylinder, but the same threshold range elicits no escape responses in the turbulent wake downstream. The method was also used to document the instantaneous slip velocity of zooplankton and the resulting differences in trajectory between zooplankton and non-inertial fluid particles in the unsteady wake flow, showing the method's capability to quantify drift for both passive and motile organisms in turbulent environments. Applications of the method extend to any group of organisms interacting with the surrounding fluid environment, where organism location, larger-scale eddies and smaller-scale fluid deformation rates can all be tracked and analyzed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3534-3540
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work is part of a collaborative effort funded by the National Science Foundation [NSF IDBR 0852875 to E.K.L.; NSF IDBR 0852833 to E.J.B.].

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.


  • 3D PTV
  • Infrared
  • Plankton drift
  • Tomographic PIV
  • Turbulence-organism interaction


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