First name: Julia
Last name: Samson
Occupation: Postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Collective Behaviour @ Max Planck Institute for Ornithology
Climate range: -10˚C to 35˚C, low humidity
Dietary needs: Belgian chocolate, dairy products
Exercising needs: horse riding, diving, dancing
Intellectual needs: reading, traveling, music
Care instructions: thrives best in a multidisciplinary, international environment
When asked what I do for a living, my usual answer is "I clean up jellyfish poop," which is partially true. But that's really just a means to a more interesting end: studying (marine) organisms, their behavior, and their interactions with the physical environment.
For the past few years, I have been studying the fluid dynamics of pulsing behavior in xeniid corals. These soft corals generate fluid flows that influence local nutrient and gas exchange. For my current research project, I try to figure out whether there is a pattern to the collective pulsing behavior, what influences this behavior, and how differences in the collective pulsing (for example different timings or pulse frequencies) affect local flow fields.
My background is in biology, with a tendency towards biomechanics and mathematical modeling of biological systems. Where possible, I like to integrate different approaches to a biological question by combining experimental work, modeling, and fieldwork. I also strive to look for solutions outside of my field through collaborations with mathematicians and engineers, among others. The more pieces we have, the better we can solve the puzzle!