Publication Detail

Fish Exploiting Vortices Decrease Muscle Activity

James C. Liao, David N Beal, George V. Lauder
4 pp.
MITSG 04-09J
$2.00 DOM

Fishes moving through turbulent flows or in formation are regularly exposed to vortices. Although animals living in fluid environments commonly capture energy from vortices, experimental data on the hydrodynamics and neural control of interactions between fish and vortices are lacking. The authors used quantitative flow visualization and electromyography to show that trout will adopt a novel mode of locomotion to slalom in between experimentally generated vortices by activating only their anterior axial muscles. Reduced muscle activity during vortex exploitation compared with the activity of fishes engaged in undulatory swimming suggests a decrease in the cost of locomotion and provides a mechanism to understand the patterns of fish distributions in schools and riverine environments.

type: Technical reports

Parent Project

Project No.: 2001-RT-2/RD-13
Title: Biomimetic Rigid Hull Vehicle with Flapping Foils for Enhanced Agility in the Surf Zone and Cluttered Environments