24 August 2010

Animal Flight Lab on Bat Conference, Prague

Members of the Animal Flight Lab are currently attending the 15th International Bat Research Conference in Prague. This is the main outlet for bat science, being the biggest assemblage of bat scientists ever at 550 individuals. In the afternoon on Monday (23 August) we had the flight symposium, organised by Anders H and Sharon Swartz, Brown University. Members of both the Lund and Brown labs gave excellent presentations, showing how kinematics and PIV data could be used to get lots of information (Florian Muijres and Rhea von Busse). Other talks were on flight mechanical constraints on bat size (Ulla Lindhe Norberg), context-dependent flight speeds (Marc Holderied), energetics by Na-Bicarbonate isotope analysis (Christian Voigt), and muscle and tendon morphology in the wings (Sharon Swartz). In the evening, the whole group of speakers went in to Prague for a excellent dinner at a restaurant (Café du Paris, see picture). After dinner we strolled through central Prague and into the old city. Today (Tuesday, 24 August) we have enjoyed many more interesting talks, and soon we will attend the poster session, where Melanie Stuiver will present her poster on the bat robot (RoBat).

18 August 2010

News on power curves

Summer is coming to an end and we have an autumn of activities to look forward to. As a starter, I would like to recommend a series of papers just out in the J Exp Biol, in which the mechanical power was measured in cockatiels. In three papers the researchers measured muscle work, compared muscle work with output from a aerodynamic model, and finally measure the flight metabolic rate to get conversion efficiency. The papers discuss all the difficulties and pitfalls, we are so well aware of, but they constitute a good and recent update on the subject. It is concluded that power consumption during flight must come from more than just the main flight muscles (Pectoralis major/supracoracoideus), otherwise the efficiency must be extremely low in the order of 10%, or so.