The goal of the Murphy Lab is to explore fluid mechanics in the context of biology, ecology, and the environment. Recent interests include the hydrodynamics of animal swimming and sensing and the dispersion of oil spills.
By studying the intersection of life and fluid mechanics, we aim to draw design principles and inspiration to solve human engineering problems.
In our multidisciplinary investigations, we work collaboratively with biologists, ecologists, oceanographers, public health professionals, and medical doctors.
We often use experimental tools such as high speed imaging, particle image velocimetry, and holography.
Pteropod Swimming DiversityPteropods exhibit a diversity of shell shapes and sizes. We are studying the effect of this diversity on swimming ability and fluid dynamics in an effort to find bio-inspiration for underwater vehicle design.
Metachronal LocomotionIn metachronal swimming, appendages are sequentially stroked from the back to the front of the animal. This pattern is widely used and is thought to increase swimming efficiency. We are studying the fluid dynamics of metachronal swimming and how it is used among animals of drastically different sizes.
Collective Animal BehaviorAnimals in schools and swarms interact with each other through fluid dynamic signals and may save energy by maintaining certain positions relative to other animals (i.e. 'drafting'). We are using stereophotogrammetry and flow measurements to study the fluid dynamics of collective schooling behavior in Antarctic krill.
Langmuir CellsOil droplets and sediment particles may be entrained into the water column by Langmuir turbulence. We are studying oil-sediment interaction in a laboratory model of this flow. Funded by the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative.
Tiny Insect FlightThe aerodynamics of flight by mm-scale insects is quite different from that of larger insects and bears many similarities to sea butterfly swimming. We are experimentally measuring the flow generated by tiny flying insects using PIV.
Antarctic Krill SwimmingThe Antarctic krill is the keystone species of the Southern Ocean. It swims by beating its five pairs of legs in a back-to-front metachronal stroke pattern. We studied the kinematics and hydrodynamics of the swimming legs and found lift-producing vortices that aid in swimming.
Swimming of the Sea ButterflyWe show that the
zooplanktonic sea butterfly 'flies' underwater in the same way that very small insects fly in the air. Both sea butterflies and flying insects stroke their wings in a
characteristic figure-of-eight pattern to produce lift, and both generate extra lift by peeling their wings apart at the beginning of the power stroke.