Hydrodynamic Perception in Pinnipeds

  • Wolf Hanke
  • Sven Wieskotten
  • Benedikt Niesterok
  • Lars Miersch
  • Matthias Witte
  • Martin Brede
  • Alfred Leder
  • Guido Dehnhardt
Part of the Notes on Numerical Fluid Mechanics and Multidisciplinary Design book series (NNFM, volume 119)


The vibrissal system of pinnipeds such as harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) or California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) serves not only for the detection and identification of objects by direct touch, but also detect and analyze water movements (hydrodynamic stimuli). These two species represent two different types of vibrissae, one with an undulated outline (harbor seal) and one with a smooth outline (sea lion). In our recent set of studies, we analyzed the hydrodynamic stimuli generated by stationary fish and by escaping fish, and tested the ability of pinnipeds to analyze artificial hydrodynamic stimuli that share certain features with natural hydrodynamic stimuli. Biomechanical studies of isolated vibrissae in a flow tank show different signal-to noise ratios for the two species that are consistent with their different performance in behavioral experiments, and can be explained by fluid-structure interactions.


Particle Image Velocimetry Vortex Ring Harbor Seal Phoca Vitulina Zalophus Californianus 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wolf Hanke
    • 1
  • Sven Wieskotten
    • 1
  • Benedikt Niesterok
    • 1
  • Lars Miersch
    • 1
  • Matthias Witte
    • 2
  • Martin Brede
    • 2
  • Alfred Leder
    • 2
  • Guido Dehnhardt
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Biosciences, Sensory and Cognitive EcologyRostock UniversityRostockGermany
  2. 2.Fluid MechanicsRostock UniversityRostockGermany

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