Bubble PIV technique to measure the velocity field of a free-swimming California sea lion
Keywords:marine mammal, velocity fields, Bubble PIV, thrust production
Fish et al. (2014) adapted laboratory PIV for safe use on larger animals. As opposed to seeding the entire flow with reflective particles and illuminating a plane of the flow with a laser, they produced a sheet of small bubbles and used sunlight for global illumination. Underwater cameras imaged the flow in a method similar to traditional PIV. This technique was used to measure the flow around a swimming dolphin and estimate the thrust produced during a tail stand maneuver (Fish et al. (2014, 2018)). In the current work, we will extend the modification of PIV of Fish et al. to measure the flow produced by a swimming sea lion also using bubbles as seeding particles and sunlight as illumination. This is the first time that the flowfield of a swimming sea lion has been directly measured. We will present an extensive extension to the image processing required to measure flow under field conditions. Finally, we will present the flow generated by propulsive strokes of an adult female (Cali) sea lion freely swimming through a pool of stationary water.
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