Feeding upside down Hydrodynamics of filter-feeding in flamingos

January 3 – Febuary 28, 2021

Meeting Abstract

P21-3  Sat Jan 2  Feeding upside down: Hydrodynamics of filter-feeding in flamingos Ortega-Jimenez, VM*; Seleb, BR; Wilson, LG; Mendelson, JR; Bhamla, S; Georgia Institute of Technology; Georgia Institute of Technology; Zoo Atlanta; Zoo Atlanta; Georgia Institute of Technology ornithopterus@gmail.com http://ornithopterus.com

Flamingos are renowned for their highly specialized filter-feeding system in water, comprising their uniquely shaped beak and tongue structures. Using this filtering system, in concert with vertical head oscillations and lateral movements, these birds can effectively filter micro-particles from muddy waters. It is known that these birds pump water in-and-out using their tongues as a piston pump to trap particulate matter in their beak’s lamellar structures (filters). However, the role of flow perturbations generated by flamingo’s head oscillations on particulate retention and filtration remains unclear. Thus, the goal of this talk is to describe how flamingos exploit hydrodynamics to influence particulate retention. We conduct experiments with captive flamingos (Phoenicopterus chilensis) at Zoo Atlanta using a custom-built setup. This setup enables us to capture the kinematics of the head as well as 2D Particle Image Velocimetry (DPIV) of the fluid flow during filter-feeding. We further use a 3D-printed biomimetic model of the flamingo head, to conduct laboratory experiments to establish the role of the beak oscillation frequency and amplitude on the biophysical fluid dynamics of filter-feeding. Together, this study will shed new insights on how self-inflicted flow perturbations effect particle retention in one of nature’s extraordinary filter-feeding birds.

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