Ecologists joined forces with aerospace colleagues at Swansea University to find the best way to reduce the drag of biologging tags -- the recording devices used to track animal movements and behaviour.
Their research collaboration meant the bioscientists were able to take advantage of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) -- virtual fluid flow analysis carried out by a supercomputer -- to run complex simulations of how a tag would affect a seal when moving through water.
Kay - Swansea - Lab - Animal - Movement
Will Kay, from the Swansea Lab for Animal Movement (SLAM), worked with fellow PhD student David Naumann, from the University's renowned Zienkiewicz Centre for Computational Engineering, who is part of the team working on the Bloodhound supersonic car.
The team also included undergraduate students, academic supervisors and technicians from the College of Science and College of Engineering, as well as external partners from Natural Resources Wales.
Paper - Impact - Devices - Computational - Fluid
Their paper Minimizing the impact of biologging devices: Using Computational Fluid Dynamics for optimizing tag design and positioning has just been published in Methods in Ecology and Evolution, published by the British Ecological Society and Wiley, a world-leading biosciences journal.
Will said: "For animals like seals that move in very fast flowing currents, drag is a key issue and streamlining tags is very important. Previous research has been carried out on how tag size, shape and position affect the drag on the animal, but we wanted to look how a combination of these factors work together to affect drag. We also aimed to provide a step-by-step guide for other bioscientists looking to apply these techniques themselves."
Biologging - Tags - Animals - Reasons - Transmission
Biologging tags are used on animals for many reasons, such as to find out more about the transmission of disease, or to understand what habitats they use to improve conservation strategies. However, carrying a tag that causes drag can change an animal's...
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