Dynamic criteria of plankton jumping out of water. Academic Article uri icon


  • In nature, jumping out of water is a behaviour commonly observed in aquatic species to either escape from predators or hunt prey. However, not all aquatic species are capable of jumping out, especially small organisms whose length scales are comparable to the capillary length (approx. 2.7 mm for water). Some aquatic animals smaller than the capillary length are able to jump out while others are not, as observed in some marine copepods. To understand the dynamics of jumping out of the water-air interface, we perform physical experiments by shooting a spherical particle towards the liquid-air interface from below. Experimental results show that the particle either penetrates or bounces back from the interface, depending on the particle and fluid properties, and the impact velocity. The transition from bouncing to penetration regimes, which is theoretically predicted based on a particle force balance, is in good agreement with both physical experiments and plankton behavioural data.

publication date

  • October 6, 2015