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Published April 2008 | public
Journal Article

In situ field measurements of aquatic animal-fluid interactions using a Self-Contained Underwater Velocimetry Apparatus (SCUVA)


We describe the development of a Self-Contained Underwater Velocimetry Apparatus (SCUVA) that enables a single SCUBA diver to make in situ digital particle image velocimetry (DPIV) measurements of animal-fluid interactions in real time. The device is demonstrated in a study of the dynamics of Aurelia labiata jellyfish swimming in the coastal waters of Long Beach, California. We analyze the DPIV measurements by computing the kinetic energy in the flow field induced by an animal's swimming motions. As a proof-of-concept, we compare these results with an existing theoretical model and find that the results are consistent with one another. However, SCUVA provides details regarding the temporal evolution of the energetics during the swimming cycle, unlike the model. These results suggest the usefulness of SCUVA as a method to obtain quantitative field measurements of in situ animal-fluid interactions.

Additional Information

© 2008, by the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, Inc. Submitted 12 July 2007; Revised 15 October 2007; Accepted 13 November 2007. The authors gratefully acknowledge field support provided by Jifeng Peng of Caltech and Mike Schaadt of the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium (San Pedro, CA). This work is supported by the NSF Ocean Sciences Division-Biological Oceanography (OCE-0623475 awarded to J.O.D.). K.K. is supported by a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship.

Additional details

August 19, 2023
October 17, 2023