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Phys Rev Lett. 2009 Apr 24;102(16):168101. Epub 2009 Apr 20.

Dancing volvox: hydrodynamic bound states of swimming algae.

Author information

1
Department of Applied Mathematics, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB3 0WA, United Kingdom.

Abstract

The spherical alga Volvox swims by means of flagella on thousands of surface somatic cells. This geometry and its large size make it a model organism for studying the fluid dynamics of multicellularity. Remarkably, when two nearby Volvox colonies swim close to a solid surface, they attract one another and can form stable bound states in which they "waltz" or "minuet" around each other. A surface-mediated hydrodynamic attraction combined with lubrication forces between spinning, bottom-heavy Volvox explains the formation, stability, and dynamics of the bound states. These phenomena are suggested to underlie observed clustering of Volvox at surfaces.

PMID:
19518757
PMCID:
PMC4833199
DOI:
10.1103/PhysRevLett.102.168101
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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