Document Detail

The impact of glide phases on the trackability of hydrodynamic trails in harbour seals (Phoca vitulina).
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  20952623     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
The mystacial vibrissae of harbour seals (Phoca vitulina) constitute a highly sensitive hydrodynamic receptor system enabling the seals to detect and follow hydrodynamic trails. In the wild, hydrodynamic trails, as generated by swimming fish, consist of cyclic burst-and-glide phases, associated with various differences in the physical parameters of the trail. Here, we investigated the impact of glide phases on the trackability of differently aged hydrodynamic trails in a harbour seal. As fish are not easily trained to swim certain paths with predetermined burst-and-glide phases, the respective hydrodynamic trails were generated using a remote-controlled miniature submarine. Gliding phases in hydrodynamic trails had a negative impact on the trackability when trails were 15 s old. The seal lost the generated trails more often within the transition zones, when the submarine switched from a burst to a glide moving pattern. Hydrodynamic parameter analysis (particle image velocimetry) revealed that the smaller dimensions and faster decay of hydrodynamic trails generated by the gliding submarine are responsible for the impaired success of the seal tracking the gliding phase. Furthermore, the change of gross water flow generated by the submarine from a rearwards-directed stream in the burst phase to a water flow passively dragged behind the submarine during gliding might influence the ability of the seal to follow the trail as this might cause a weaker deflection of the vibrissae. The possible ecological implications of intermittent swimming behaviour in fish for piscivorous predators are discussed.
S Wieskotten; G Dehnhardt; B Mauck; L Miersch; W Hanke
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  The Journal of experimental biology     Volume:  213     ISSN:  1477-9145     ISO Abbreviation:  J. Exp. Biol.     Publication Date:  2010 Nov 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2010-10-18     Completed Date:  2011-01-27     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0243705     Medline TA:  J Exp Biol     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  3734-40     Citation Subset:  IM    
University of Rostock, Institute for Biosciences, 18059 Rostock, Germany.
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MeSH Terms
Phoca / physiology*
Physical Stimulation
Remote Sensing Technology
Swimming / physiology*
Water Movements*

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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