Ctenophores: cilia, metachronal waves, and agility in complex flows
Ctenophores (comb jellies) are the world’s largest cilates, and the sister group to all other extant animals on Earth. With their eight ciliary rows, ctenophores are capable of surprising agility in even complex flows. We are investigating their propulsive mechanics, including how their swimming ability changes when the flow around them becomes more and more turbulent. Understanding their near-omnidirectional propulsion system will prove useful in the world of underwater vehicles, where small maneuverable robots could expand our capabilities in exploration, research, and military applications.