Kara L Feilich

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Explosive dehiscence ballistically disperses seeds in a number of plant species. During dehiscence, mechanical energy stored in specialized tissues is transferred to the seeds to increase their kinetic and potential energies. The resulting seed dispersal patterns have been investigated in some ballistic dispersers, but the mechanical performance of a launch(More)
Fishes are found in a great variety of body forms with tail shapes that vary from forked tuna-like tails to the square-shaped tails found in some deep-bodied species. Hydrodynamic theory suggests that a fish's body and tail shape affects undulatory swimming performance. For example, a narrow caudal peduncle is believed to reduce drag, and a tuna-like tail(More)
The obliquely striated muscle in the leech body wall has a broad functional repertoire; it provides power for both locomotion and suction feeding. It also operates over an unusually high strain range, undergoing up to threefold changes in length. Serotonin (5-HT) may support this functional flexibility, integrating behavior and biomechanics. It can act(More)
Body and fin shapes are chief determinants of swimming performance in fishes. Different configurations of body and fin shapes can suit different locomotor specializations. The success of any configuration is dependent upon the hydrodynamic interactions between body and fins. Despite the importance of body-fin interactions for swimming, there are few data(More)
Tuna are fast, economical swimmers in part due to their stiff, high aspect ratio caudal fins and streamlined bodies. Previous studies using passive caudal fin models have suggested that while high aspect ratio tail shapes such as a tuna's generally perform well, tail performance cannot be determined from shape alone. In this study, we analyzed the swimming(More)
Food processing is costly, potentially limiting the energy and time devoted to other essential functions such as locomotion or reproduction. In ectotherms, post-prandial thermophily, the selection of a warm environmental temperature after feeding, may be advantageous in minimizing the duration of this elevated cost. Although present in many vertebrate taxa,(More)
Comparative studies of fish swimming have been limited by the lack of quantitative definitions of fish gaits. Traditionally, steady swimming gaits have been defined categorically by the fin or region of the body that is used as the main propulsor and named after major fish clades (e.g. carangiform, anguilliform, balistiform, labriform). This method of(More)
If you have ever been outdoors in the suburban or rural USA, you have probably seen fireflies cheerfully lighting the evening. Fireflies, or lightning bugs (which are neither true flies nor bugs), are actually beetles – and though as a 5 year old I thought they glowed for my own amusement, the fireflies’ light organs serve an important purpose. Adult(More)
Fly wings are technological marvels, flapping at frequencies over 100 Hz to produce enough lift to keep the tiny insects aloft. One of the innovations driving this extreme performance is the resonant oscillation of the thorax that allows the wings to reach frequencies beyond those attainable by direct nervous stimulation. Fly hindwings have also been(More)