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Animal and biological science highlights: San Antonio Fluid Dynamics Conference, Nov. 23-25
Date:11/19/2008

ed Digital Particle Image Velocimetry (DPIV). In the technique, the fluid flow within a digital camera's field of view is determined by charting the movement of small particles distributed throughout the fluid. In experiments conducted at the Long Marine Laboratory at the University of California, Santa Cruz, the scientists measured the flows produced by two dolphins doing tailstands--a Sea World-worthy maneuver in which dolphins hold themselves vertically out of the water, using quick, strong oscillations of their tail. The data revealed that special skin wasn't necessary, because thrust produced by the dolphins' tails was "far more than necessary to overcome turbulent boundary layer drag," says Wei, who plans to use the DPIV technique to measure flow around other marine mammals. "These measurements create greater opportunities for addressing interesting and long-standing questions about swimming," he says.

Wei's talk, "DPIV measurements of dolphins performing tailstands," is at 8:13 am on Monday, November 24, 2008, in Room 102A of the San Antonio Convention Center. Abstract: http://meetings.aps.org/Meeting/DFD08/Event/90214.


4) ENGINEERS UNEARTH THE DIGGING SECRETS OF BURROWING CLAMS

Burrowing razor clams (Ensis directus) have the ability to tunnel into the sandy sea bottom with remarkable efficiency. According to Anette Hosoi, a professor of mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the clams use 10 times less energy to dig and anchor themselves into the seafloor than the best man-made techniques currently used today.

To find out how the clams accomplish this, Hosoi, along with graduate student Amos Winter, visualized them in action. The scientists found that the clams open and close their shell in a synchronized manner as they dig. "By pushing itself UP with its foot before it digs down," Hosoi says, "the clam clears a space aro
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Contact: Jason Bardi
jbardi@aip.org
301-209-3091
American Institute of Physics
Source:Eurekalert

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