Title: Adventures in biomechanics - Car sized fish feeding on tic-tacs and jelly-like bones from the deep
Speaker: E.W. Misty Paig-Tran, Assistant Professor, California State University Fullerton
As a comparative biomechanist, my research uses a blend of anatomy, experimental engineering, and physiology techniques to answer large scale biological questions about feeding performance and movement in vertebrate systems. A principle goal of my work is to elucidate how the function of a system is predicted by its form. For example, have you ever wondered how a bus sized fish can feed on tiny tic-tac sized prey? To answer questions like these I turn to biomimetic modeling. The mobulid fishes (mantas and devil rays) filter prey smaller than the pore size of their filter pads. The water flow through their filter elements is complex and varies with the angle and anatomy of the filter. I used enlarged 3-D biomimetic models to examine fluid flow over a variation of filter morphologies and at different attack angles. Models were based on gross dissections of Manta birostris filter lobes and created with a 3-D printer. Fluid movement was visualized with a dye stream aimed to show flow in specific areas of the filter. The vorticity within the system is complex; however, I distinguished three distinct filtration modalities that are dependent on the orientation and fine scale filter morphology: direct sieving, cross-flow filtration, and cyclonic filtration (think Dyson vacuums). This is the first time cyclonic filtration has been documented in a vertebrate system. The centrifugal forces serve to re-suspend particles smaller than the pore size into the flow allowing large animals to prey on some of the tiniest zooplankton in the sea.
If you are interested in meeting with the speaker please contact Logan at Lpeoples@ucsd.edu