DiBenedetto Michelle

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  • Article
    Crystal aggregates record the pre-eruptive flow field in the volcanic conduit at Kilauea, Hawaii
    (American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2020-12-04) DiBenedetto, Michelle H. ; Qin, Zhipeng ; Suckale, Jenny
    Developing reliable, quantitative conduit models that capture the physical processes governing eruptions is hindered by our inability to observe conduit flow directly. The closest we get to direct evidence is testimony imprinted on individual crystals or bubbles in the conduit and preserved by quenching during the eruption. For example, small crystal aggregates in products of the 1959 eruption of Kīlauea Iki, Hawaii contain overgrown olivines separated by large, hydrodynamically unfavorable angles. The common occurrence of these aggregates calls for a flow mechanism that creates this crystal misorientation. Here, we show that the observed aggregates are the result of exposure to a steady wave field in the conduit through a customized, process-based model at the scale of individual crystals. We use this model to infer quantitative attributes of the flow at the time of aggregate formation; notably, the formation of misoriented aggregates is only reproduced in bidirectional, not unidirectional, conduit flow.
  • Article
    Modeling characterization of the vertical and temporal variability of environmental DNA in the mesopelagic ocean
    (Nature Research, 2021-10-28) Andruszkiewicz Allan, Elizabeth ; DiBenedetto, Michelle H. ; Lavery, Andone C. ; Govindarajan, Annette F. ; Zhang, Weifeng G.
    Increasingly, researchers are using innovative methods to census marine life, including identification of environmental DNA (eDNA) left behind by organisms in the water column. However, little is understood about how eDNA is distributed in the ocean, given that organisms are mobile and that physical and biological processes can transport eDNA after release from a host. Particularly in the vast mesopelagic ocean where many species vertically migrate hundreds of meters diurnally, it is important to link the location at which eDNA was shed by a host organism to the location at which eDNA was collected in a water sample. Here, we present a one-dimensional mechanistic model to simulate the eDNA vertical distribution after its release and to compare the impact of key biological and physical parameters on the eDNA vertical and temporal distribution. The modeled vertical eDNA profiles allow us to quantify spatial and temporal variability in eDNA concentration and to identify the most important parameters to consider when interpreting eDNA signals. We find that the vertical displacement by advection, dispersion, and settling has limited influence on the eDNA distribution, and the depth at which eDNA is found is generally within tens of meters of the depth at which the eDNA was originally shed from the organism. Thus, using information about representative vertical migration patterns, eDNA concentration variability can be used to answer ecological questions about migrating organisms such as what depths species can be found in the daytime and nighttime and what percentage of individuals within a species diurnally migrate. These findings are critical both to advance the understanding of the vertical distribution of eDNA in the water column and to link eDNA detection to organism presence in the mesopelagic ocean as well as other aquatic environments.
  • Article
    Non-breaking wave effects on buoyant particle distributions
    (Frontiers Media, 2020-03-19) DiBenedetto, Michelle H.
    The dispersal of buoyant particles in the ocean mixed layer is influenced by a variety of physical factors including wind, waves, and turbulence. Microplastics observations are often made at the free surface, which is strongly forced by surface gravity waves. Many studies have used numerical simulations to examine how turbulence and wave effects (e.g., breaking waves, Langmuir circulation) control buoyant particle dispersal at the ocean surface. However these simulations are not wave phase-resolving. Therefore, the effects of an unsteady free surface due to surface gravity waves remain unknown in this context. To address this, we develop an analytical model for the distribution of buoyant particles as a function of wave-phase under wind-wave conditions in deep-water. Using this analytical model and complementary numerical simulations, we quantify the effects of a nonbreaking, monochromatic, progressive wave train on the equilibrium vertical and horizontal distributions of buoyant particles. We find that waves result in non-uniform horizontal distributions of particles with more particles under the wave crests than the troughs. We also find that the waves can stretch or compress the equilibrium vertical distribution. Finally, we consider the effects of waves on the sampling of microplastics with a towed net, and we show that waves have the ability to lower the measured concentrations relative to nets sampling without the influence of waves.
  • Dataset
    Trajectories and velocities of Crepidula fornicata larvae swimming under various food cues from experiments conducted at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in July, 2018
    (Biological and Chemical Oceanography Data Management Office (BCO-DMO). Contact: bco-dmo-data@whoi.edu, 2020-12-18) DiBenedetto, Michelle ; Mullineaux, Lauren ; Helfrich, Karl R.
    Trajectories and velocities of Crepidula fornicata larvae swimming under various food cues from experiments conducted at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in July, 2018. These data were published in DiBenedetto et al. (2020). For a complete list of measurements, refer to the full dataset description in the supplemental file 'Dataset_description.pdf'. The most current version of this dataset is available at: https://www.bco-dmo.org/dataset/834221
  • Article
    Departures from isotropy: the kinematics of a larval snail in response to food
    (The Company of Biologists, 2021-01-15) DiBenedetto, Michelle H. ; Meyer-Kaiser, Kirstin S. ; Torjman, Brooke ; Wheeler, Jeanette D. ; Mullineaux, Lauren S.
    The swimming behavior of invertebrate larvae can affect their dispersal, survival and settlement in the ocean. Modeling this behavior accurately poses unique challenges as behavior is controlled by both physiology and environmental cues. Some larvae use cilia to both swim and create feeding currents, resulting in potential trade-offs between the two functions. Food availability is naturally patchy and often occurs in shallow horizontal layers in the ocean. Also, larval swimming motions generally differ in the horizontal and vertical directions. In order to investigate behavioral response to food by ciliated larvae, we measured their behavioral anisotropy by quantifying deviations from a model based on isotropic diffusion. We hypothesized that larvae would increase horizontal swimming and decrease vertical swimming after encountering food, which could lead to aggregation at food layers. We considered Crepidula fornicata larvae, which are specifically of interest as they exhibit unsteady and variable swimming behaviors that are difficult to categorize. We tracked the larvae in still water with and without food, with a portion of the larvae starved beforehand. On average, larvae in the presence of food were observed higher in the water column, with higher swimming speeds and higher horizontal swimming velocities when compared with larvae without food. Starved larvae also exhibited higher vertical velocities in food, suggesting no aggregation behavior. Although most treatments showed strong anisotropy in larval behavior, we found that starved larvae without food exhibited approximately isotropic kinematics, indicating that behavioral anisotropy can vary with environmental history and conditions to enhance foraging success or mitigate food-poor environments.