Environmentally Driven Plasticity
The two major environmental parameters which have the greatest impact on the growth forms of marine sessile organisms are light, required for photosynthesis, and hydrodynamics. A full discussion of the physics of underwater light distributions and hydrodynamics could easily cover a few textbooks. In Box 2.1 the basic hydrodynamic laws are summarized, together with two dimensionless parameters, the Reynolds number Re (2.3) and the Péclet number Pe (2.4), which can be used to characterize the impact of the flow on the organism. In Sect. 2.1.1 “Growing and flowing” we will focus on the biomechanical impact of hydrodynamics on the growth process and try to construct a number of laws for the biomechanical impact of hydrodynamics using an engineering approach. In Sect. 4.3 we will return to the topic of hydrodynamics, from a modeling point of view and try to construct a computational method capable of capturing the influence of hydrodynamics in models of growth and form of marine sessile organisms. In Box 2.2 the basic equations, in a highly simplified form, of underwater light distributions are shown. To a certain extent, in contrast with the hydrodynamic equations, these simplified equations can more or less straightforwardly be included in computational models; this will be discussed in Chap. 4.
KeywordsCoral Reef Growth Form Flow Speed Hydrodynamic Force Brown Seaweed
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