University of Birmingham > Talks@bham > Applied Mathematics Seminar Series > Rowing in Sync?

Rowing in Sync?

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  • UserYixin Kirsty Wan (Cambridge)
  • ClockThursday 06 November 2014, 16:00-17:00
  • HouseMuirhead 122.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Alexandra Tzella.

In their native fluid environments, multiple cilia and flagella can exhibit coordinated beating across a vast range of spatial and temporal scales. Despite lacking in semblance of a “brain”, green algae can nonetheless actuate and synchronize their flagellar beating with remarkable precision and recurrence. In the control of interflagellar synchrony, a hydrodynamic contribution has long been theorized. Yet wildtype Chlamydomonas (a biflagellate) swims an in-phase breaststroke which is hydrodynamically anomalous. Intriguingly still, we find in a phototaxis mutant a stochastic switching between in-phase and antiphase swimming gaits. Manipulating the relative orientation and distance of separation between pairs of flagella belonging to different cells we show by direct experimentation that hydrodynamic interactions are indeed sufficient to synchronize their respective beating dynamics, as predicted by fundamental theory. In contrast, flagella of the same cell may be subject to additional internal control by biochemical means.

This talk is part of the Applied Mathematics Seminar Series series.

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