Fluid Dynamics and Reef Health
Professor Reidenbach and his team are using Rivanna to run computational fluid dynamics simulations of wave and tide driven flows over coral reefs in order to determine how storms, nutrient inputs, and sediments impact reef health. This is an image of dye fluxing from the surface of the Hawaiian coral Porites compressa utilizing a technique known as planar laser induced fluorescence (PLIF). Reefs such as this one have been severely impacted by human alteration, both locally through additional inputs of sediments and nutrients, and globally through increased sea surface temperatures caused by climate change. Reidenbach is hopeful that his computational models will allow scientists to better predict the future health of reefs based on human activity and improve global reef restoration efforts.