Welcome to the Physical Ecology Group at the University of Lincoln
Although organisms obey the same physical laws as inanimate objects the evolutionary implications of these laws are often neglected. Physical factors influence the fitness value of traits and play an important role in the course of evolution. These are the areas of investigation that interest us.
Water flowing back and forth over sand quickly forms a field of dune-like wrinkles. On the upstream side, the flow is a little faster, and it picks up grains of sand. When the flow slows on the downstream side of a bump, the sand gets deposited. In this way, small bumps in the sand continue growing larger. A similar process between wind and sand forms enormous dunes here on Earth and on Mars. These smaller water-driven wrinkles are very common in tidal areas and in sandy creeks. They can even build up and break down such that they create periodic waves that surge down the stream. (Image and video credit: amàco et al.)