SICB Division of Ecology and Evolution (DEE)

DEE Researchers Database Entry

James Liao

How fish alter their swimming mechanics and physiology when exposed to turbulent flow environments
The view from below: My research documents how fish can profoundly alter their swimming mechanics and physiology when exposed to turbulent flow environments. Fish, like these rainbow trout, adopt a novel mode of locomotion when they interact with vortices (revealed here by bubbles) generated experimentally from a cylinder. By using high-speed video, flow visualization, and in vivo muscle recordings, I was able to show that fish reduce muscle activity when interacting with vortices. This finding supports a hydrodynamic explanation for fish distributions in schools and in current swept habitats. Field work confirms that a diversity of wild fishes of differing body morphologies and ecological niches will exploit vortices shed from cylinders. Currently, I am investigating the role of sensory feedback on locomotion at the cellular level using zebrafish.