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Study finds forest corridors help plants disperse their seeds
Date:3/19/2014

is always much more detailed than can be observed. Therefore, to comprehend the fine details of the relationships between the forest gap structures and the wind, the scientists leveraged the physical model to generate a virtual and complete environment, where every detail of the wind and seeds movement and the forest structure are known.

Bohrer ran the dataset through a high-resolution atmospheric model that he had developed on OSC's IBM Opteron 1350 Glenn Cluster. The Glenn Cluster provides users with a total peak performance of 54 teraflops (tech-speak for making 54 trillion calculations per second), and the center's Mass Storage System provides more than 2 petabytes of storage.

"The massive simulations used the Ohio Supercomputer Center to provide a detailed understanding of how corridors change the movement of the wind, and seeds that disperse with it, through a forest," Bohrer said.

The model resolves the wind flow and includes the effects of canopy leaves and tree stems on the wind. The simulations include a virtual domain of roughly 6.5 million pixels, each representing a volume of air (or air mixed with forest leaves) of about 10 cubic meters. It also represented millions of dispersing virtual seeds. The model calculated the movement of the air and virtual seeds 20 times per second, over four hours.

"We found that corridors could affect the wind direction and align the wind flow with the corridor, that they accelerate the wind and provide preferable conditions for ejection above the canopy, where long distance dispersal could occur," said Bohrer.


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Contact: Jamie Abel
jabel@oh-tech.org
614-292-6495
Ohio Supercomputer Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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