"We've been studying swimming animals for quite some time,""The perspective we usually take is that of how the ocean—by its currents, temperature, and chemistry—is affecting the animals. But there have been increasing suggestions that the inverse is also important—how the animals themselves, via swimming, might impact the ocean environment."
John Dabiri, Caltech assistant professor of aeronautics and bioengineering
Using a combination of theoretical modeling, energy calculations, and field observations, researchers from Caltech have for the first time described how some of the ocean's tiniest swimming animals can have a huge impact on large-scale ocean mixing.
Scientists have been debating about how marine life might play a role in larger-scale ocean mixing, the process by which various layers of water interact with one another to distribute heat, nutrients, and gasses throughout the oceans.