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Repeated evolution of drag reduction at the air-water interface in diving kingfishers

Crandell, K, Howe, R and Falkingham, PL (2019) Repeated evolution of drag reduction at the air-water interface in diving kingfishers. Interface, 16 (154). ISSN 1742-5689

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Piscivorous birds have a unique suite of adaptations to forage under the water. One method aerial birds use to catch fish is the plunge dive, wherein birds dive from a height to overcome drag and buoyancy in the water. The kingfishers are a well-known clade that contains both terrestrially foraging and plunge-diving species, allowing us to test for morphological and performance differences between foraging guilds in an evolutionary context. Diving species have narrower bills in the dorsoventral and sagittal plane and longer bills (size-corrected data, n = 71 species, p < 0.01 for all). Although these differences are confounded by phylogeny (phylogenetically corrected ANOVA for dorsoventral p = 0.26 and length p = 0.14), beak width in the sagittal plane remains statistically different (p < 0.001). We examined the effects of beak morphology on plunge performance by physically simulating dives with three-dimensional printed models of beaks coupled with an accelerometer, and through computational fluid dynamics (CFD). From physically simulated dives of bill models, diving species have lower peak decelerations, and thus enter the water more quickly, than terrestrial and mixed-foraging species (ANOVA p = 0.002), and this result remains unaffected by phylogeny (phylogenetically corrected ANOVA p = 0.05). CFD analyses confirm these trends in three representative species and indicate that the morphology between the beak and head is a key site for reducing drag in aquatic species.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: MD Multidisciplinary
Subjects: Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Natural Sciences & Psychology (closed 31 Aug 19)
Publisher: Royal Society, The
Date Deposited: 29 Jul 2019 09:33
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2021 09:25
DOI or ID number: 10.1098/rsif.2019.0125
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/10697
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