"Anisotropy is the property of being directionally dependent, as opposed to isotropy, which implies uniformity in all directions. Anisotropy occurs throughout the physical world and is perhaps most commonly encountered in material science but anisotropy also often occurs in nature in a number of ways. One example of this includes active fluid systems. In such systems there are active organisms which are influenced by the flow of fluid around them but, crucially, also influence the flow. When the organisms are anisotropic (as is often the case) a model of such a system must include these factors, and models of bacteria and even larger organisms such as fish have started to be developed over the last few years in order to examine the order, self-organisation and pattern formation within these systems.
This proposal aims to use techniques from the theoretical modelling of liquid crystal systems to consider a number of different areas of the natural world and to consider the effect of anisotropy on the behaviour of important marine bacteria and larger organisations of fish. These models will provide important information on behaviour in altered environments, such as where man-made structures (i.e. sea-based wind, wave and tidal energy generation devices) and can inform developers and governmental policy in the future."