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Morphological diversity of medusan lineages constrained by animal–fluid interactions

Dabiri, John O. and Colin, Sean P. and Costello, John H. (2007) Morphological diversity of medusan lineages constrained by animal–fluid interactions. Journal of Experimental Biology, 210 (11). pp. 1868-1873. ISSN 0022-0949. doi:10.1242/jeb.003772.

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Cnidarian medusae, commonly known as jellyfish, represent the earliest known animal taxa to achieve locomotion using muscle power. Propulsion by medusae requires the force of bell contraction to generate forward thrust. However, thrust production is limited in medusae by the primitive structure of their epitheliomuscular cells. This paper demonstrates that constraints in available locomotor muscular force result in a trade-off between high-thrust swimming via jet propulsion and high-efficiency swimming via a combined jet-paddling propulsion. This trade-off is reflected in the morphological diversity of medusae, which exhibit a range of fineness ratios (i.e. the ratio between bell height and diameter) and small body size in the high-thrust regime, and low fineness ratios and large body size in the high-efficiency regime. A quantitative model of the animal–fluid interactions that dictate this trade-off is developed and validated by comparison with morphological data collected from 660 extant medusan species ranging in size from 300 µm to over 2 m. These results demonstrate a biomechanical basis linking fluid dynamics and the evolution of medusan bell morphology. We believe these to be the organising principles for muscle-driven motility in Cnidaria.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription DOIArticle
Dabiri, John O.0000-0002-6722-9008
Colin, Sean P.0000-0003-4463-5588
Costello, John H.0000-0002-6967-3145
Additional Information:© 2007 The Company of Biologists Ltd. Accepted 11 March 2007. First published online May 21, 2007. The authors acknowledge support from the NSF Ocean Sciences Division – Biological Oceanography Program (OCE-0623475 awarded to J.O.D., OCE-0351398 and -0623534 awarded to S.P.C. and OCE-0350834 and -0623508 awarded to J.H.C.).
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Subject Keywords:locomotion; biomechanics; fluid dynamics; medusae
Issue or Number:11
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20091112-081714386
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Official Citation:Dabiri, John O., Colin, Sean P., Costello, John H. Morphological diversity of medusan lineages constrained by animal-fluid interactions J Exp Biol 2007 210: 1868-1873
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:16675
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:16 Nov 2009 23:18
Last Modified:08 Nov 2021 23:29

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