BRINGING THE OCEAN INTO THE LABORATORY
We employ both cutting edge and commonly used diagnostic techniques in engineering to study biological and physical processes in more detail. We collect organisms using SCUBA and ROVs and transport them into the laboratory to further investigate features that cannot be adequately understood using in situ methods. This is an active area of research with collaborative efforts on understanding
Giant larvacean ecology (with Bruce Robison, MBARI),
Tomopterid fluid interactions to enable agile swimming and maneuvering (with Karen Osborn, Smithsonian),
Mechanisms behind swimming by prayiid siphonophores (with Jack Costello and Sean Colin), arguably the largest organisms on our planet, and
Fluid interactions with benthic filter feeders (with James Barry, MBARI).
In addition, using small-scale robotics, rapid prototyping, and advanced, optically clear and soft materials, we can design and build mechanical mimics to investigate how marine systems function in detail, and evaluate optimization and performance. Not only do these mechanical mimics contribute to the understanding of systems being studied, they will also streamline the technological pipeline to apply these lessons learned more rapidly to underwater technology.