A tiny ocean vortex, with pop art pizzazz

2013 Visualization Challenge photography winner brings minuscule whirlpools to light

By Meghan Rosen, 13:12 PM February 18, 2014

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Corals may whip up whirlpools to spin specks of food in and bits of waste out. Scientists had known that hairlike bristles, or cilia, on coral help sweep nutrients in, but the purpose of bristles lining the valleys between coral polyps had been more mysterious. Using video microscopy, MIT environmental engineer Vicente Fernandez and colleagues recorded two short clips of Pocillopora damicornis coral in seawater, taken 90 minutes apart. The researchers traced particle paths ...

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