Great hammerhead sharks swim on their side to reduce transport costs

Payne, Nicholas, Iosilevskii, Gil, Barnett, Adam, Fischer, Chris, Graham, Rachel T., Gleiss, Adrian C., and Watanabe, Yuuki Y. (2016) Great hammerhead sharks swim on their side to reduce transport costs. Nature Communications, 7. 12289. pp. 1-5.

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Abstract

Animals exhibit various physiological and behavioural strategies for minimizing travel costs. Fins of aquatic animals play key roles in efficient travel and, for sharks, the functions of dorsal and pectoral fins are considered well divided: the former assists propulsion and generates lateral hydrodynamic forces during turns and the latter generates vertical forces that offset sharks' negative buoyancy. Here we show that great hammerhead sharks drastically reconfigure the function of these structures, using an exaggerated dorsal fin to generate lift by swimming rolled on their side. Tagged wild sharks spend up to 90% of time swimming at roll angles between 50 degrees and 75 degrees, and hydrodynamic modelling shows that doing so reduces drag-and in turn, the cost of transport-by around 10% compared with traditional upright swimming. Employment of such a strongly selected feature for such a unique purpose raises interesting questions about evolutionary pathways to hydrodynamic adaptations, and our perception of form and function.

Item ID: 45487
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2041-1723
Additional Information:

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Funders: Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), Summit Foundation (SF), Mitchell Petersen Foundation
Projects and Grants: JSPS (25850138), JSPS (P13749)
Date Deposited: 31 Aug 2016 07:32
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0603 Evolutionary Biology > 060303 Biological Adaptation @ 54%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060202 Community Ecology (excl Invasive Species Ecology) @ 33%
01 MATHEMATICAL SCIENCES > 0102 Applied Mathematics > 010202 Biological Mathematics @ 13%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 50%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 50%
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