Lane SJ, Shishido CM, Moran AL, Tobalske BW, Arango CP, Woods HA. 2017
"Upper limits to body size imposed by respiratory–structural trade-offs in Antarctic pycnogonids." Proc. R. Soc. B 284: 20171779.
Team Pycno is creating some waves with a new article in Current Biology. Check it out!
H. Arthur Woods, Steven J. Lane, Caitlin Shishido, Bret W. Tobalske, Claudia P. Arango, Amy L. Moran. "Respiratory gut peristalsis by sea spiders." Current Biology, 2017; 27 (13): R638 DOI:
For press coverage and related videos click on the following links:
"In birds, flight performance is an ideal metric to assess the fitness consequences of developmental stress. As fledglings, mastering takeoff is crucial to avoid bodily damage and escape predation. As adults, takeoff can contribute to mating and foraging success as well as escape and, thus, can affect both reproductive success and survival. We examined the effects of developmental stress on flight performance across life-history stages in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata). Specifically, we examined the effects of oral administration of corticosterone (CORT, the dominant avian glucocorticoid) during development on ground-reaction forces and velocity during takeoff. Additionally, we tested for associations between flight performance and reproductive success in adult male zebra finches." Read more about flight performance in the altricial zebra finch.
Wing posture has a greater effect on aerodynamic performance during emulated flapping than during emulated gliding. Extended wing morphology (i.e. emarginate primaries) may be more important during take-off and landing than during gliding. Read more in the new JEB article.
Read Bret's new paper in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, B.on the constraints of the avian musculoskeletal system on the evolution of flight.
Pictured: Wing-tip reversal upstroke in a pigeon (Columba livia) engaged in slow forward flight.
Read Robert and Bret's new paper in the Journal of Experimental Biology. In this image, synchronized audio and high-speed video recordings of take-off flights reveal that tonal components of wing sounds occur late in downstroke.
Ever wonder how swallows do it? Fast, highly maneuverable flyers that seem to turn on a dime? Read about the kinematics of swallow foraging in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, B.
Read the latest paper involving research at the UM Flight Lab!
"Three-dimensional simulation for fast forward flight of a calliope hummingbird." Authors: Jialei Song, Bret W. Tobalske, Donald R. Powers, Tyson L. Hedrick, Haoxiang Luo.
Pressure distribution on the body surface in Pascals: (a) isolated body simulation, (b) body with wings at mid-downstroke and (c) body with wings at mid-upstroke.
"Not only is he an expert on fast muscle movements, but he’s a guitarist and rock fan who used to work concert security at metal shows in the Eighties." How is this for a cool faculty expertise contribution?
Dr. Bret Tobalske and Dr. Art Woods, along with graduate student Steven Lane, recently traveled to Antarctica with colleagues from the University of Hawaii to study polar giant sea spiders. Their work is featured in this Discovery Channel Canada clip. (Link doesn't work)
Slow flight is extremely energetically costly per unit time, yet highly important for takeoff and survival. Kristen Crandell and Bret Tobalske investigated the kinematics and aerodynamics of upstrokes during slow flight. Check out their new paper (and the image that made the cover of the Journal of Experimental Biology)!
Bret Tobalske, Art Woods and Steven Lane are getting ready for their Antarctic expedition in October 2015. They will be diving under the Antarctic sea ice in pursuit of Pycnogonid sea spiders. This week they are at Harvard, hosted by the Museum of Comparative Zoology and the Center for Nanoscale Systems. They are receiving training on use of the microCT machine. These are micro Computer Tomography images of Pycnogonid sea spiders. The specimens are on loan from the Smithsonian Institution.
Bret Tobalske emerging from frigid Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park in prepartion for future dives in Antarctica with researchers Amy Moran (University of Hawaii) and Art Woods (University of Montana). Their research will focus on Antarctic sea spiders (Pycnogonida), their body size, oxygen consumption, and vulnerability to climate change.
Funded by the National Geographic Society, Bret Tobalske, Douglas Warrick, Ty Hedrick, Andrew Biewener and Kristen Crandell are revealing the intricacies of high speed maneuvering in swallows. The goal of this research is to improve understanding of the ecomorphology of aerial insectivory. Their study is reported in the February issue of Science News.
Swallows , hummingbirds and other species are serving as bioinspiration for engineers seeking to perfect miniature autonomous flying robots. Broader impacts of research into bird flight is described in the February issue of Science News.
The shapes of sexually selected weapons differ widely among species, but the drivers of this diversity remain poorly understood. We found that rhinoceros beetle horns are both stronger and stiffer in response to species-typical fighting loads and that they perform more poorly under atypical fighting loads, which suggests weapons are structurally adapted to meet the functional demands of fighting. Our research establishes a critical link between weapon form and function, revealing one way male-male competition can drive the diversification of animal weapons.
Coverage of the article by Science.
Transition from wing to leg forces during landing in birds: A new paper in the Journal of Experimental Biology.
Transitions to and from the air are critical for aerial locomotion and likely shaped the evolution of flying animals. Research on take-off demonstrates that legs generate greater body accelerations compared with wings, and thereby contribute more to initial flight velocity. Here, we explored coordination between wings and legs in two species with different wingbeat styles, and quantified force production of these modules during the final phase of landing. Check out the "Transition from Wing to Leg Forces during Landing in Birds" article.
From baby birds to feathered dinosaurs: incipient wings and the evolution of flight: A new paper from the Flight Lab.
Ashley M. Heers , Kenneth P. Dial , and Bret W. Tobalske published a paper in Paleobiology which uses the developing wings of a typical extant ground bird (Chukar Partridge) as possible analogues/homologues of historical wing forms to provide the first empirical evaluation of aerodynamic potential in flapping theropod ‘‘protowings.’’ Check out the paper, "From baby birds to feathered dinosaurs: incipient wings and the evolution of flight."
Mechanical limits to maximum weapon size in a giant rhinoceros beetle: A new paper from the Flight Lab's Erin L. McCullough.
The horns of giant rhinoceros beetles are a classic example of the elaborate morphologies that can result from sexual selection. However, males sometimes fight vigorously enough to break their horns, so mechanical limits may set an upper bound on horn size. Erin tested tested the mechanical limit hypothesis by measuring safety factors across the full range of horn sizes. Check out her paper, "Mechanical limits to maximum weapon size in a giant rhinoceros beetle", published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
From extant to extinct: locomotor ontogeny and the evolution of avian flight
Ashley Heers and Ken Dial have published a new article in Trends in Ecology and Evolution: "From extant to extinct: locomotor ontogeny and the evolution of avian flight."
New National Geographic Grant: "Ecomorphology and flight performance during high-speed coursing maneuvers in swallows."
Bret Tobalske, Director of the UM Flight Lab, has been awarded a grant from the National Geographic Society, Committee for Research and Exploration. This is in collaboration with Doug Warrick (Oregon State University), Andy Biewener (Harvard University), and Ty Hedrick (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill). The research will focus on the ecomorphology and flight performance during high-speed coursing maneuvers in swallows. Pictured: Doug Warrick.
Kristen Crandell receives NASA Fellowship
Kristen Crandell was awarded a NASA Space Grant Fellowship for Spring, 2011, to facilitate her studies into the aerodynamics and mechanics of upstroke during bird flight.
Contractile behavior of the avian pectoralis: a new paper from the flight lab
Brandon Jackson, Bret Tobalske, and Ken Dial published a paper in the Journal of Experimental Biology exploring the functional and evolutionary implications of the pectoralis. Check out "The broad range of contractile behavior of the avian pectoralis: functional and evolutionary implications" article.
BBC reports our findings
The BBC reports our findings on wing-assisted inclined running (WAIR.) Check out the "Flap-running in birds is key to flight evolution" article.