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Article

Jellyfish and Fish Solve the Challenges of Turning Dynamics Similarly to Achieve High Maneuverability

1
Graduate Aerospace Laboratories and Mechanical Engineering, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA
2
Marine Biology and Environmental Science, Roger Williams University, Bristol, RI 02809, USA
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Whitman Center, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA 02543, USA
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Department of Integrative Biology, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL 33620, USA
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School for Environment and Sustainability, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
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Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, The George Washington University, Washington, DC 20052, USA
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Biology Department, Providence College, Providence, RI 02918, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Fluids 2020, 5(3), 106; https://doi.org/10.3390/fluids5030106
Received: 21 March 2020 / Revised: 23 June 2020 / Accepted: 28 June 2020 / Published: 30 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fluid Mechanics of Plankton)
Turning maneuvers by aquatic animals are essential for fundamental life functions such as finding food or mates while avoiding predation. However, turning requires resolution of a fundamental dilemma based in rotational mechanics: the force powering a turn (torque) is favored by an expanded body configuration that maximizes lever arm length, yet minimizing the resistance to a turn (the moment of inertia) is favored by a contracted body configuration. How do animals balance these opposing demands? Here, we directly measure instantaneous forces along the bodies of two animal models—the radially symmetric Aurelia aurita jellyfish, and the bilaterally symmetric Danio rerio zebrafish—to evaluate their turning dynamics. Both began turns with a small, rapid shift in body kinematics that preceded major axial rotation. Although small in absolute magnitude, the high fluid accelerations achieved by these initial motions generated powerful pressure gradients that maximized torque at the start of a turn. This pattern allows these animals to initially maximize torque production before major body curvature changes. Both animals then subsequently minimized the moment of inertia, and hence resistance to axial rotation, by body bending. This sequential solution provides insight into the advantages of re-arranging mass by bending during routine swimming turns. View Full-Text
Keywords: propulsion; rotational physics; convergent evolution; torque; moment of inertia; animal movement propulsion; rotational physics; convergent evolution; torque; moment of inertia; animal movement
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MDPI and ACS Style

Dabiri, J.O.; Colin, S.P.; Gemmell, B.J.; Lucas, K.N.; Leftwich, M.C.; Costello, J.H. Jellyfish and Fish Solve the Challenges of Turning Dynamics Similarly to Achieve High Maneuverability. Fluids 2020, 5, 106. https://doi.org/10.3390/fluids5030106

AMA Style

Dabiri JO, Colin SP, Gemmell BJ, Lucas KN, Leftwich MC, Costello JH. Jellyfish and Fish Solve the Challenges of Turning Dynamics Similarly to Achieve High Maneuverability. Fluids. 2020; 5(3):106. https://doi.org/10.3390/fluids5030106

Chicago/Turabian Style

Dabiri, John O., Sean P. Colin, Brad J. Gemmell, Kelsey N. Lucas, Megan C. Leftwich, and John H. Costello 2020. "Jellyfish and Fish Solve the Challenges of Turning Dynamics Similarly to Achieve High Maneuverability" Fluids 5, no. 3: 106. https://doi.org/10.3390/fluids5030106

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