ESR05 - Hydrodynamics of swimming fish: drag, propulsion, and fish bioenergetics

Host Institution: UNIABDN - University of Aberdeen

Fish hydrodynamics influences nearly all aspects of fish life-cycles and thus has significant implications for fish conservation. Nevertheless, precise aspects of fish swimming mechanics remain largely unknown and many fundamental questions are still the subject of debate. This project will focus on fundamental aspects of flow-fish interactions using laboratory experiments and employing advanced facilities and instrumentation.  Among others, the project will investigate the links between turbulence dynamics, fish propulsion, drag, and bio-energetics. The experiments will employ state-of-the-art techniques in fish tracking and flow measurement such as a custom-made robotic multi-camera 200Hz Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) system allowing simultaneous high-resolution stereoscopic measurements of both fish movement and 3D velocity fields near moving fish and far away. The obtained data will be used to (i) identify key flow patterns, drag-forming mechanisms, and propulsion strategies in controlled conditions; (ii) quantify locomotor dynamics that maximize swimming performance and assess potential implications for fish bioenergetics; and (iii) develop a new framework where fish biomechanical properties can be used in designing safe fish passages through a variety of hydraulic structures in rivers. The project will advance fundamental knowledge on flow-fish interactions by pursuing two key objectives: (1) to enhance current capabilities to measure turbulent flow fields in proximity of swimming fish; and (2) to identify key flow patterns, drag-forming and propulsion mechanisms for selected fish species, to be identified at the initial stage of the project. 

Secondment period (to be confirmed): Expected duration: 4 months; Hosting institutions: SOTON (University of Southampton - Southampton, UK), IGB (Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries - Berlin, Germany), UNIPD (Universit√† degli Studi di Padova - Padova, Italy) and CBAR (Consorzio di Bonifica Acque Risorgive - Venezia, Italy)

Work package

Early Stages Researcher