Exploring How Fish Feel Flow
Since the time of Aristotle, we have marveled at the ability of animals to run, fly and swim. These seemingly simple behaviors are, in fact, the product of the interaction between the intent of the organism and the physics of the world they inhabit. How can sailfish reach swimming speeds of 68 miles per hour? How can sooty shearwaters fly 40,000 miles each summer in search of food? Understanding these principles is the goal of a broad discipline called biomimetics: using nature’s designs to inspire the creation of man-made structures and machines. Some examples are indispensable in our everyday lives, such as airplanes, Velcro, and sonar. More and more, we are looking at how animals sense their environment to be able to successfully navigate an unpredictable world. This requires us to look not only at the shape of animals, but also how their nervous system works to gather information to paint an image of their world.
An understanding of animal movement in the wild is critical to determine the relevance of our laboratory studies to natural behaviors. Moreover, home range and movement patterns can be used for designing protected areas and restoring biodiversity in degraded habitats. We use acoustic telemetry to monitor local fish behavior, movement, and migration patterns – currently focusing on wild red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus). We can “listen” for our fish with over 1500+ tracking stations situated from the Caribbean to the Carolinas as part of our membership with the Florida Atlantic Coast Telemetry Network (FACT).