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watteaux romainResearcher
Section EMI

e-mail romain.watteaux(at)szn.it
Skype: rwatteaux


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Research interests

After few years working as a research engineer in the world of hydrodynamics, I decided to go discover how such an incredible physical phenomenon could affect life. My research focuses on the impact of physical and environmental factors on marine organisms. More specifically, I study how fluid dynamics affects growth and distribution of plankton in the oceans and seas. This research can be streamlined in two topics:
1. Understanding the impact of large-scale currents on micro-organisms spatial distribution. Numerical simulations of sea currents are conducted in order to study how currents connect or isolate the different marine regions. Results are then compared with genetic connectivity from sampling campaign. Similarities  bring insightful informations on how dispersal processes impacts genetic diversity while differences show how environmental factors along with biological behaviour can counter-act the physical transport of plankton. Such approach is used for the study of Anchovies population at the scale of the Thyrrenanian sea (project Ritmare), and for a more general study of plankton in the global ocean (project TARA Ocean).
2. Understanding the impact of turbulence on the growth of plankton. Using 3D numerical simulations of particles advected in a turbulent flow, we study the spatio-temporal evolution of uptake along particles Lagrangian trajectories. By stirring and mixing dissolved organic matter along with plankton, turbulence redistributes nutrients availability and affects the boundary layer developed around cells during osmosis.
Such multi-disciplinary projects imply strong collaborations with life scientists, geneticists and physical oceanographers, both in Italy and abroad.

Journal Papers

Watteaux R., Stocker R., Taylor R. J., "Sensitivity of the nutrient uptake rate by chemotactic bacteria to physical and biological parameters in a turbulent environment.". Journal of Theoretical Biology. Accepted.

Watteaux R., Taylor R. J., "A scaling of the chemotactic uptake advantage in a turbulent environment". Journal of Theoretical Biology. Work in progress.

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