Modeling the Sinking and Ascending Properties of Diatoms

We are halfway through the REU program. My model is complete. It is a series of functions that takes a list of diatom sinking and ascent rates, as well as properties of the SETCOL column, and individually assigns each diatom a position. Inputting time gives the diatoms a new position based on their sinking or ascent rates. We are then left with all the information necessary to analyze it through the SETCOL method, yielding the mean ascent and mean sinking rates. I now have to test it to make sure that it is doing what it is supposed to do. The next step is to obtain frequency distributions of diatom sinking and ascent rates to input into the model. This will be done by tracking individual particles with video technology. For this I have been growing different species of diatoms.  There isn’t much else to say so I will post some pretty pictures of diatom chains that I’ve taken.

 

Pictures of diatoms I've seen.  From left to right: Odontella spp., Chaetoceros spp., Hemiaulus spp.

Pictures of diatoms I’ve seen.
From left to right: Odontella spp., Chaetoceros spp., Hemiaulus spp.

This picture is courtesy of Eduardo Perez. It shows the setup for tracking individual diatoms. (Also we didn't come up with this setup. See O’Brian et al., 2006. )

This picture is courtesy of Eduardo Perez. It shows the setup for tracking individual diatoms. (Also we didn’t come up with this setup. See O’Brian et al., 2006. )

These are the key equations that give the mean sinking and mean ascent rate of diatoms. It is the final step in the SETCOL method as well as the final step in my model.

These are the key equations that give the mean sinking and mean ascent rate of diatoms. It is the final step in the SETCOL method and therefore the final step in my model.

References:

Bienfang, P. K. “SETCOL – a Technologically Simple and Reliable Method for Measuring Phytoplankton Sinking Rates.” Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 38, no. 10 (1981): 1289-94.

O’Brien, K. R., A. M. Waite, B. L. Alexander, K. A. Perry, and L. E. Neumann. “Particle Tracking in a Salinity Gradient: A Method for Measuring Sinking Rate of Individual Phytoplankton in the Laboratory.” Limnology and Oceanography-Methods 4 (Oct 2006): 329-35.

Also refer to my previous blog post if curious as to what the purpose of my model is.

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