Elasticity and Glocality: Initiation of Embryonic Inversion in Volvox

Haas, Pierre ; Goldstien, Raymond E (2015-10-21)


Elastic objects across a wide range of scales deform under local changes of their intrinsic properties, yet the shapes are glocal, set by a complicated balance between local properties and global geometric constraints. Here, we explore this interplay during the inversion process of the green alga Volvox, whose embryos must turn themselves inside out to complete their development. This process has recently been shown [S. Höhn et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 114, 178101, (2015)] to be well described by the deformations of an elastic shell under local variations of its intrinsic curvatures and stretches, although the detailed mechanics of the process have remained unclear. Through a combination of asymptotic analysis and numerical studies of the bifurcation behavior, we illustrate how appropriate local deformations can overcome global constraints to initiate inversion.