Fractality, chaos, and reactions in imperfectly mixed open hydrodynamical flows

A Pentek, G Karolyi, I Scheuring, T Tel, Z Toroczkai, J Kadtke, C Grebogi

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18 Citations (Scopus)


We investigate the dynamics of tracer particles in time-dependent open flows. If the advection is passive the tracer dynamics is shown to be typically transiently chaotic. This implies the appearance of stable fractal patterns, so-called unstable manifolds, traced out by ensembles of particles. Next, the advection of chemically or biologically active tracers is investigated. Since the tracers spend a long time in the vicinity of a fractal curve, the unstable manifold, this fractal structure serves as a catalyst for the active process. The permanent competition between the enhanced activity along the unstable manifold and the escape dac: to advection results in a steady state of constant production rate. This observation provides a possible solution for the so-called "paradox of plankton", that several competing plankton species are able to coexists in spite of the competitive exclusion predicted by classical studies. We point out that the derivation of the reaction (or population dynamics) equations is analog to that of the macroscopic transport equations based on a microscopic kinetic theory whose support is a fractal subset of the full phase space. (C) 1999 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-131
Number of pages12
JournalPhysica. A, Statistical Mechanics and its Applications
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 1999


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  • Gonyaulax-Polyedra Stein
  • Red Tide Dinoflagellate
  • Stokes-Flow
  • advection
  • scattering
  • turbulence
  • kinematics
  • boundaries
  • transport

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