Light propagation is modeled in corals in 3D using a mesh based probability distribution model.
The optical design of coral tissues and skeletons is used as starting point for structural design optimization. The design of a coral has evolved in response to certain set of environmental parameters over the course of millions of years. The design thus represents a highly optimized solution to a given environmental problem (e.g. light, nutrients, space competition). The structural variability between coral species is astonishing, and forms the basis for one the most diverse and species rich ecosystems on Earth. Individual coral species exhibiy strong phenotypic plasticity . For instance, a coral growing in shallow (e.g. less than 5m deep) waters can be highly convoluted while the same species growing at deeper water depths becomes entirely flat in order to maximize the surface light interception.
We use 3D models to study coral optical designs and optimise the structure of our 3D printed living matter. We model the propagation of light (primarily in Matlab) in order to understand the factors that optimise light absorption. We also aim to optimise gas exchange dynamics via computational fluid dynamics .