Navigation Links
Whale sharks do the math to avoid that sinking feeling
Date:11/24/2010

They are the largest fish species in the ocean, but the majestic gliding motion of the whale shark is, scientists argue, an astonishing feat of mathematics and energy conservation. In new research published today in the British Ecological Society's journal Functional Ecology marine scientists reveal how these massive sharks use geometry to enhance their natural negative buoyancy and stay afloat.

For most animals movement is crucial for survival, both for finding food and for evading predators. However, movement costs substantial amounts of energy and while this is true of land based animals it is even more complex for birds and marine animals which travel in three dimensions. Unsurprisingly this has a profound impact on their movement patterns.

"The key factor for animal movement is travel speed, which governs how much energy an animal uses, the distance it will travel and how often resources are encountered," said lead author Adrian Gleiss from Swansea University. "However, oceanic animals not only have to consider their travel speed, but also how vertical movement will affect their energy expenditure, which changes the whole perspective."

For the past four years, Adrian Gleiss and Rory Wilson, from Swansea University, worked with Brad Norman from ECOcean Inc. to lead an international team to investigate the movements of whale sharks, Rhincodon typus, at Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia. They attached animal-borne motion sensors, accelerometers, to the free-swimming whale sharks to measure their swimming activity and vertical movement, which allowed them to quantify the energetic cost of vertical movement.

The team's data revealed that whale sharks are able to glide without investing energy into movement when descending, but they had to beat their tails when they ascended. This occurs because sharks, unlike many fish, have negative buoyancy.

Also, the steeper the sharks ascended, the harder they had to beat their tail and the more energy they had to invest. The Whale Sharks displayed two broad movement modes, one consisting of shallow ascent angles, which minimize the energetic cost of moving in the horizontal while a second characteristic of steeper ascent angles, optimized the energetic cost of vertical movement.

"These results demonstrate how geometry plays a crucial role in movement strategies for animals moving in 3-dimensions," concluded Gleiss. "This use of negative buoyancy may play a large part in oceanic sharks being able to locate and travel between scarce and unpredictable food sources efficiently."


'/>"/>

Contact: Ben Norman
Lifesciencenews@wiley.com
44-124-377-0375
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Researchers find first genetic evidence for loss of teeth in the common ancestor of baleen whales
2. Critically endangered whales flee Russian oil, gas boom
3. Whale sharks may produce many litters from 1 mating, paternity test shows
4. Blue whales align the pitch of their songs with extreme accuracy, study finds
5. Lone whales shout to overcome noise
6. UCLA biologists report how whales have changed over 35 million years
7. DNA analysis suggests whale meat from sushi restaurants in L.A., Seoul originated from Japan
8. Experts gather to solve mystery of largest recorded die-off of great whales
9. MMS and NOAA scientists study prey of Gulf of Mexico sperm whales
10. New study finds link between marine algae and whale diversity over time
11. New study suggests minke whales are not preventing recovery of larger whales
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/14/2017)... WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. , Feb. 14, 2017  Wake ... FRY-shlog), M.D., as its new chief executive officer (CEO). ... succeeds CEO John D. McConnell , M.D., who ... new position at the Medical Center, after leading it ... oversee the full scope of Wake Forest Baptist,s academic ...
(Date:2/8/2017)... , Feb. 8, 2017 About Voice ... voice to match it against a stored voiceprint ... as pitch, cadence, and tone are compared to ... minimal hardware installation, as most PCs already have ... different transactions. Voice recognition biometrics are most likely ...
(Date:2/7/2017)... --  MedNet Solutions , an innovative SaaS-based eClinical technology ... is pleased to announce that the latest release of ... and award winning eClinical solution, is now available for ... a proven Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) clinical research technology platform that ... delivers an entire suite of eClinical tools to support ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/22/2017)... ... February 22, 2017 , ... ... of Tom Perkins as European director. Operating from Pennside’s Zurich headquarters, Pennside Partners, ... , Perkins joins Pennside after more than a decade with leading market research ...
(Date:2/22/2017)... SILVER SPRING, Md. and RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C., ... UTHR ) today announced its financial results ... 2016. "Our annual 2016 financial results ... billion and earnings exceeded $700 million," said Martine ... Officer. "These financial results strengthen our ability to ...
(Date:2/21/2017)... Inc. ("SQI" or the "Company") (TSX-V: SQD; OTCQX: SQIDF), today reported ... December 31, 2016. SQI is a ... develops and commercializes proprietary technologies and products for advanced multiplexed ... ... in fiscal 2016," said Andrew Morris , SQI,s President ...
(Date:2/21/2017)... ... February 21, 2017 , ... Vortex ... , a fully automated benchtop system for collecting intact circulating tumor cells (CTCs) ... at the Molecular Medicine Tri Conference (Tri-Con) Annual Meeting 2017 (February 19–24 San ...
Breaking Biology Technology: