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Research finds water movements can shape fish evolution
Date:2/4/2010

tyle appropriate to the speeds at which they swam. For example, a lamprey that needed to swim faster could gain efficiencywhich for a real fish would mean tiring less quicklyif it changed its shape or swimming style to mimic a mackerel. And a mackerel that had to move slowly would be more efficient if it could change shape or swimming style to mimic a lamprey. This is evidence that a fish's optimal range of swimming speeds generates hydrodynamic forces that influence the shape and swimming style it will evolve.

"From these experiments, we can deduce that real mackerel and eel's swimming styles are perfectly adapted to the hydrodynamic environments that they inhabit," says Sotiropoulos. The method could be adapted to study how a fluid environment molds the evolution of other organisms and to design robots that would swim at different speeds or in water of different viscosities, the researchers say.


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Contact: Ryan Mathre
ryanmathre@umn.edu
612-625-0552
University of Minnesota
Source:Eurekalert

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