Cyanea capillata bell kinematics analysis through corrected in situ imaging and modeling using strategic discretization techniques

Alex A. Villanueva, Shashank Priya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Obtaining accurate kinematic data of animals is essential for many biological studies and bio-inspired engineering. Many animals, however, are either too large or too delicate to transport to controlled environments where accurate kinematic data can be easily obtained. Often, in situ recordings are the only means available but are often subject to multi-axis motion and relative magnification changes with time leading to large discrepancies in the animal kinematics. Techniques to compensate for these artifacts were applied to a large jellyfish, Cyanea capillata, freely swimming in ocean waters. The bell kinematics were captured by digitizing exumbrella profiles for two full swimming cycles. Magnification was accounted for by tracking a reference point on the ocean floor and by observing the C. capillata exumbrella arclength in order to have a constant scale through the swimming cycles. A linear fit of the top bell section was used to find the body angle with respect to the camera coordinate system. Bell margin trajectories over two swimming cycles confirmed the accuracy of the correction techniques. The corrected profiles were filtered and interpolated to provide a set of time-dependent points along the bell. Discrete models of the exumbrella were used to analyze the bell kinematics. Exumbrella discretization was conducted using three different methods. Fourier series were fitted to the discretized models and subsequently used to analyze the bell kinematics of the C. capillata. The analysis showed that the bell did not deform uniformly over time with different segments lagging behind each other. Looping of the bell trajectory between contraction and relaxation was also present through most of the exumbrella. The bell margin had the largest looping with an outer path during contraction and inner path during relaxation. The subumbrella volume was approximated based on the exumbrella kinematics and was found to increase during contraction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere115220
JournalPloS one
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 26 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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