Hydrodynamic performance of the minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) flipper.

Title

Hydrodynamic performance of the minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) flipper.

Creator

Cooper Lisa Noelle; Sedano Nils; Johansson Stig; May Bryan; Brown Joey D; Holliday Casey M; Kot Brian W; Fish Frank E

Publisher

The Journal of experimental biology

Date

2008
2008-06

Description

Minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) are the smallest member of balaenopterid whales and little is known of their kinematics during feeding maneuvers. These whales have narrow and elongated flippers that are small relative to body size compared to related species such as right and gray whales. No experimental studies have addressed the hydrodynamic properties of minke whale flippers and their functional role during feeding maneuvers. This study integrated wind tunnel, locomotion and anatomical range of motion data to identify functional parameters of the cambered minke whale flipper. A full-sized cast of a minke whale flipper was used in wind tunnel testing of lift, drag and stall behavior at six speeds, corresponding to swimming speeds of 0.7-8.9 m s(-1). Flow over the model surface stalled between 10 degrees and 14 degrees angle of attack (alpha) depending on testing speed. When the leading edge was rotated ventrally, loss in lift occurred around -18 degrees alpha regardless of speed. Range of mobility in the fresh limb was approximately 40% greater than the range of positive lift-generating angles of attack predicted by wind tunnel data (+14 degrees alpha). Video footage, photographs and observations of swimming, engulfment feeding and gulping minke whales showed limb positions corresponding to low drag in wind tunnel tests, and were therefore hydrodynamically efficient. Flippers play an important role in orienting the body during feeding maneuvers as they maintain trim of the body, an action that counters drag-induced torque of the body during water and prey intake.

Subject

Animals; Biomechanical Phenomena; Video Recording; Extremities/anatomy & histology/*physiology; Biophysical Phenomena; Biophysics; Feeding Behavior/physiology; Minke Whale/*physiology; Swimming/*physiology; Models; Anatomic

Identifier

Rights

Article information provided for research and reference use only. All rights are retained by the journal listed under publisher and/or the creator(s).

Pages

1859–1867

Volume

211

Citation

Cooper Lisa Noelle; Sedano Nils; Johansson Stig; May Bryan; Brown Joey D; Holliday Casey M; Kot Brian W; Fish Frank E, “Hydrodynamic performance of the minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) flipper.,” NEOMED Bibliography Database, accessed June 16, 2021, https://neomed.omeka.net/items/show/4907.

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