Fractal skeletons and the plankton paradox

Celso Grebogi

Universidade de Sao Paulo, BRASIL

Nature is permeated by phenomena in which active processes, such as chemical reactions and biological interactions, take place in environmental flows. They include the dynamics of growing population of plankton in the oceans and the evolving distribution of ozone in the polar stratosphere. I will show that if the dynamics of active particles in environmental flows is chaotic, then necessarily the concentration of particles have the observed fractal filamentary structures. These structures, in turn, are the skeletons and the dynamic catalysts of the active processes, yielding an unusual singularly enhanced productivity. I will then suggest that this singular productivity could be the hydrodynamic explanation for the plankton paradox, in which an extremely large number of species are able to coexist, negating the competitive exclusion principle that asserts the survival of only the most perfectly adapted to each limiting resource.