Gravitactic bioconvective patterns created by Tetrahymena pyriformis in a Hele-Shaw apparatus were realized and compared with theoretical results. There were found to be two thresholds for bio-convection development: the first indicates the transition from the diffusion to the steady convection state; the second corresponds to the transition from the steady to the unsteady convection state. The results showed that the Hele-Shaw apparatus may be used as a physical analogy of porous media to study 2D bioconvection, with possible extensions to larger scale biological systems where population growth and distribution are driven by similar bio-physical interactions.
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