Schedule May 21, 2018
The impact of marine viruses in a stirring and mixing environment
Kelvin Richards (IPRC)

Viruses are known to impact blooms of phytoplankton in the ocean, in some cases causing the bloom to crash. And yet the impact of viruses is not taken into account in conventional models of the marine ecosystem. Part of the problem is little is known about the interactions between the host (phytoplankton) and the virus. Here, using a simple population model that includes viral infection, we investigate the conditions under which the presence of a virus significantly impacts the population dynamics. A major focus is how spatial variability influences the spread of an epidemic in a stirring and mixing fluid flow. The combination of viral infection and diffusion can cause waves of the epidemic to sweep through the domain, with the epidemic lasting much longer than in the homogeneous case. Stirring by the fluid flow can greatly increase this effect causing an increase in the fraction of the bloom that is affected and in certain circumstances (high diffusion and stirring) can totally suppress the bloom.

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