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  • Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering Seminar

    Wed, Oct 04, 2017 @ 03:30 PM - 04:30 PM

    Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering

    Conferences, Lectures, & Seminars

    Speaker: Matthew McHenry, Professor/UC Irvine

    Talk Title: Predator Sensing and Evasion in Fish

    Abstract: The ability to survive encounters with predators is fundamental to the biology of a broad diversity of species. However, it is largely unclear how prey animals sense and evade predators. We study how the sensory and motor systems of fishes facilitate predator evasion with a focus on zebrafish (Danio rerio), where the adults prey on larvae of the same species. We have learned that the flow-sensitive lateral line system is necessary for survival by rapidly triggering a 'fast start' escape response. By replicating these conditions with a predator robot and modeling the flow stimulus with computational fluid dynamics, we were able to examine the cues that prey fish use to sense a predator. We similarly modeled the visual stimuli presented by a predator's approach. For both stimuli, we found that larvae direct their escape rapidly with coarse directionality. By examining these interactions with pursuit-evasion game modeling, we found that these directional responses are effective due to the high speed of the escape relative to the slow approach of the predator. Therefore, zebrafish survive encounters with a predator using either visual or flow cues that trigger a poorly-directed, but fast, escape response.

    Biography: Matt McHenry is a Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UC Irvine. Since his freshman year at Vassar College, Matt has studied biomechanics and sensing in aquatic animals. He earned a doctorate with Mimi Koehl at UC Berkeley and completed postdoctoral studies with George Lauder at Harvard. His lab's research is supported by the National Science Foundation and the Office of Naval Research.

    Host: Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering

    Location: Seaver Science Library (SSL) - 150

    Audiences: Everyone Is Invited

    Contact: Ashleen Knutsen

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