Nonlinear concentration patterns and bands in autochemotactic suspensions

Enkeleida Lushi, Raymond E. Goldstein, Michael J. Shelley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In suspensions of microorganisms, pattern formation can arise from the interplay of chemotaxis and the fluid flows collectively generated by the organisms themselves. Here we investigate the resulting pattern formation in square and elongated domains in the context of two distinct models of locomotion in which the chemoattractant dynamics is fully coupled to the fluid flows and swimmer motion. Analyses for both models reveal an aggregative instability due to chemotaxis, independent of swimmer shape and type, and a hydrodynamic instability for "pusher" swimmers. We discuss the similarities and differences between the models. Simulations reveal a critical length scale of the swimmer aggregates and this feature can be utilized to stabilize swimmer concentration patterns into quasi-one-dimensional bands by varying the domain size. These concentration bands transition to traveling pulses under an external chemoattractant gradient, as observed in experiments with chemotactic bacteria.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number052411
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 27 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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