Corals exchange nutrients and dissolved gases with the surrounding environment for metabolic purposes. A recent study demonstrated that corals can actively stir quiescent water columns and produce vortical flows that enhance mass transfer rates by up to 400%. Here, three-dimensional immersed-boundary simulations of the flow through a Pocillopora meandrina colony demonstrate that the passive geometric features of the branching colony produce highly vortical internal flows that enhance mass transfer at the interior of the colony, compensating almost exactly for flows speed reductions there of up to 64% so that the advection time scale remains roughly constant throughout the colony.

You do not currently have access to this content.