GSA Connects 2021 in Portland, Oregon

Paper No. 191-13
Presentation Time: 2:30 PM-6:30 PM


BITTOF, Lucas, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Vanderbilt University, 595 Joshua Dr, Dandridge, TN 37725, GIBSON, Brandt M., Vanderbilt University, Earth and Environmental Science, 2201 West End Ave, Nashville, TN 37235, DUNN, Frances, Oxford University Museum of Natural History, Oxford, OX1 3PW, United Kingdom, RAHMAN, Imran A., Oxford University Museum of Natural History, Parks Road, Oxford, GA OX1 3PW and DARROCH, Simon, Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, University of California, Berkeley, 130 Mulford Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720

Modern seagrass communities can induce canopy flow, where water flow within the seagrass canopy is slowed relative to the flow above. This creates a nursery habitat, providing shelter for juvenile animals. It was previously hypothesized that Ediacaran rangeomorph communities engendered canopy flow, and so we evaluate the possibility that these communities acted as nurseries by slowing water flow within the canopy. To address this, we constructed 3-D models of frondose organisms with varying levels of morphological detail, which were used in computer simulations of water flow (computational fluid dynamics, or CFD). The results allow us to establish the minimum level of anatomical complexity that needs to be represented in individual models in order to accurately reconstruct patterns of fluid flow. In addition, our simulations shed further light on the feasibility of osmotrophy in frondose Ediacaran organisms. These data provide the starting point for large-scale CFD simulations of flow around communities of Ediacaran fronds, revealing the extent to which these communities induce canopy flow and hence whether they would have been effective nursery habitats.