Dataset Information
Tomographic PIV measurements of swimming shelled Antarctic pteropod
Data DOI:
Cite as
Adhikari, D., Webster, D., & Yen, J. (2018) "Tomographic PIV measurements of swimming shelled Antarctic pteropod" U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP) Data Center. doi:
AMD - DIF Record(s)
A portable tomographic particle image velocimetry (tomographic PIV) system is described. The system was successfully deployed in Antarctica to study shelled Antarctic pteropods (Limacina helicina antarctica) – a delicate organism with an unusual propulsion mechanism. The experimental setup consists of a free-standing frame assembled with optical rails, thus avoiding the need for heavy and bulky equipment (e.g. an optical table). The cameras, lasers, optics, and tanks are all rigidly supported within the frame assembly. The results indicate that the pteropods flap their parapodia (or “wings”) downward during both power and recovery strokes, which is facilitated by the pitching of their shell. Shell pitching significantly alters the flapping trajectory, allowing the pteropod to move vertically and/or horizontally. The pronation and supination of the parapodia, together with the figure eight motion during flapping, suggest similarities with insect flight. The volumetric velocity field surrounding the freely-swimming pteropod reveals the generation of an attached vortex ring connecting the leading edge vortex to the trailing edge vortex during power stroke, and a presence of a leading-edge vortex during recovery stroke. These vortex structures play a major role in accelerating the organism vertically and indicate that forces generated on the parapodia during flapping constitute both lift and drag. After completing each stroke, two vortex rings are shed into the wake of the pteropod. The complex combination of body kinematics (parapodia flapping, shell pitch, saw-tooth trajectory), flow structures, and resulting force balance may be significantly altered by thinning of the pteropod shell, thus making pteropods an indicator of the detrimental effects of ocean acidification.
Adhikari, Deepak; Webster, Donald R; Yen, Jeannette
Date Created:
USAP-DC (current)
Spatial Extent(s)
West: -180, East: 180, South: -90, North: -60
  1. Adhikari, D., D.R. Webster, and J. Yen (2016) Portable tomographic PIV measurements of swimming shelled Antarctic pteropods. Experiments in Fluids 57: 180 (17pp). (doi:10.1007/s00348-016-2269-7)
  2. Murphy, D. W., D. Adhikari, D.R. Webster, and J. Yen. "Underwater flight by the planktonic sea butterfly," Journal of Experimental Biology, v.219, 2016, p. 535-543. doi:10.1242/jeb.129205 (doi:10.1242/jeb.129205)
Supplemental Docs
Data Files
Contact Us
28.1 GB
Large dataset. Contact us to arrange download.

MD5 Checksum: 21045d53f6e79c56297fa15c962026ab File Type: JPEG Image; AVI: Audio Video Interleave; Rich Text Format (RTF); Text File; Microsoft Excel (OpenXML); XML; Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF)

2.5 MB

MD5 Checksum: f2eaa710d4cbeaae491d2bb5fdbc8a26 File Type: Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF)

2.3 kB

MD5 Checksum: cb2b2936e244e79352280cfac865ea4c File Type: Text File

4.9 kB

MD5 Checksum: 9dd6f53acd5420c9695fb4bf88c3fddf File Type: Text File

22.0 kB

MD5 Checksum: a58674f934761d327fa613c323a2d9a4 File Type: Microsoft Excel (OpenXML)

This dataset has been downloaded 9 times since March 2017 (based on unique date-IP combinations)