As large and vast as the ocean may seem, some of the smallest creatures living in it have an enormous effect on it. Monica Martinez, Fluid Mechanics Engineer from UNAM and Ph.D. candidate at Caltech, is researching how small creatures such as krill and plankton can mix and transport nutrients in the ocean over great distances affecting the overall composition of seawater. The experiment aims to assess how small creatures like these ones can have a substantial effect on currents, temperature and other factors of the seawater.
Martinez uses brine shrimp, also known as Sea Monkeys, because krill and plankton are very hard to keep alive in the lab. With the use of a laser, Monica makes the shrimp swim vertically inside a tank of water pre-mixed with silver-coated, hollow glass spheres. This helps to observe the motion of water with a slow motion camera.
Although still under investigation, some of her results have stirred the scientific community worldwide, propelling her career and research further. Her article was published in Physics of Fluids, and has been featured online in National Geographic and WIRED. Monica is one of many UNAM students that are excelling in universities abroad, proving that Mexico has very talented young researchers that can work under academia’s highest standards.
To learn more about Monica’s research, please follow this link:
To read the scientific paper by the author, please follow this link: