Exploring vortex enhancement and manipulation mechanisms in jellyfish that contributes to energetically efficient propulsion. Academic Article uri icon


  • The ability of animals to propel themselves efficiently through a fluid medium is ecologically advantageous. Flexible components that influence vortex interactions are widespread among animal propulsors. However the mechanisms by which vortices are enhanced and appropriately positioned for thrust generation are still poorly understood. Here, we describe how kinematic propulsor movements of a jellyfish can enhance and reposition a vortex ring that allows the recapture of wake energy for secondary thrust generation and efficient locomotion. We use high-speed video and digital particle image velocimetry (DPIV) to resolve kinematics simultaneously with fluid structures. These results provide new insight into how animals can manipulate fluid structures to reduce metabolic energy demands of swimming muscles and may have implications in bio-inspired design.

publication date

  • 2014