Ph.D. Environmental Engineering, Stanford University | in progress
Advisor: John O. Dabiri
M.S. Environmental Engineering, Stanford University | 2017
B.A. Atmospheric Science, University of California at Berkeley | 2015


I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Bob and Norma Street Environmental Fluid Mechanics Laboratory at Stanford University studying the fluid dynamics of biological propulsion and collective motion in stratified flows. I use laboratory experiments with novel flow visualization and measurement techniques to understand the fluid dynamics within swarms and the potential impacts of collective swimmers on the surrounding water column.

Image: Schlieren image of a brine shrimp (A. salina) swimming in a stratified tank.


Houghton IA, Koseff JR, Monismith SG, and Dabiri JO (2018) "Vertically migrating swimmers generate aggregation-scale eddies in a stratified column,” Nature 556: 497-500.

Byron ML, Tao Y, Houghton IA, and Variano EA (2018) "Altered settling rates in turbulence for large nonspherical particles," in prep.

Image: Brine shrimp (A. salina), the centimeter-scale animals used in recent laboratory experiments.


Houghton IA, Dabiri JO (2018). Swarm-scale eddies generated by collective swimmers. Ocean Sciences Meeting, Portland, OR

Houghton IA, Dabiri JO (2017). Hydrodynamics of collective swimmers in a stable stratification. APS Division of Fluid Dynamics, Denver, CO

Houghton IA, Dabiri JO (2017). Hydrodynamics of intermediate Reynolds number collective swimmers. Stanford Environmental Fluid Mechanics Laboratory Seminar, Stanford, CA

Houghton IA, Dabiri JO (2016). Hydrodynamics of collective swimmers in a stable stratification. APS Division of Fluid Dynamics, Portland, OR

Houghton IA, Dabiri JO (2016). Fluid Transport in a stratified column by controllable plankton migrations. VIIIth International Symposium on Stratified Flows, San Diego, CA

Image: Fluorescent dye illustrates the large-scale transport of fluid throughout an entire swarm in a stratified tank. Animals within the light sheet cast a horizontal shadow illustrating their small size relative to the flow.

Teaching and Service

- Financial Officer, Stanford Women in Fluid Dynamics, a group where we aim to
promote intellectual and professional development in the field of fluid dynamics.
- Teaching assistant (ocean circulation) and undergraduate research mentor

Contact Me

Isabel A. Houghton
ihoughto at stanford dot edu

Image: Diving in Channel Islands National Park, credit: Ian Brownstein