Drag-Based ‘Hovering’ in Ducks: The Hydrodynamics and Energetic Cost of Bottom FeedingReport as inadecuate




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Diving ducks use their webbed feet to provide the propulsive force that moves them underwater. To hold position near the bottom while feeding, ducks paddle constantly to resist the buoyant force of the body. Using video sequences from two orthogonal cameras we reconstructed the 3-dimensional motion of the feet through water and estimated the forces involved with a quasi-steady blade-element model. We found that during station holding, near the bottom, ducks use drag based propulsion with the webbed area of the foot moving perpendicular to the trajectory of the foot. The body was pitched at 76±3.47° below the horizon and the propulsive force was directed 26±1.9° ventral to the body so that 98% of the propulsive force in the sagittal plane of the duck worked to oppose buoyancy. The mechanical work done by moving both feet through a paddling cycle was 1.1±0.2 J which was equivalent to an energy expenditure of 3.7±0.5 W to hold position while feeding at 1.5 m depth. We conclude that in shallow water the high energetic cost of feeding in ducks is due to the need to paddle constantly against buoyancy even after reaching the bottom. The mechanical energy spent on holding position near the bottom, while feeding, is approximately 2 fold higher than previous estimates that were made for similar bottom depths but based on the presumed motion of the body instead of motion of the feet.



Author: Gal Ribak , John G. Swallow, David R. Jones

Source: http://plos.srce.hr/



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