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Clarke Hall
Virginia Wesleyan College
1584 Wesleyan Drive
Norfolk , VA 23502
Phone: 757.455.3359
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Student Research Projects

Role of the Anal Fin in Swimming Kinematics of the Black Ghost Knifefish (Apteronotus albifrons)

Student Travis DeGraphenried
Faculty Mentor(s) Dr. Soraya Bartol
Department Biology
Course BIO 489: Research in the Natural Sciences


In this study, I looked at swimming characteristics of the Black Ghost Knifefish (Apteronotus albifrons). This freshwater fish has a pronounced anal fin that they undulate to produce swimming forces through vortex generation. I collected swimming kinematics of this fish using a digital video camera (Sony HD-XR200V, 60 frames/sec), in a 15 cm water tunnel (ELD, Inc) over a range of water speeds. Video analysis was performed using Matlab routines developed in Ty Hendrick’s Lab, UNC Chapel Hill. From these measurements, I was able to look at fin amplitude, fin wave speed, and number of fin waves; these characteristics were correlated to swimming speed.

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