Gliding evolved at least nine times in mammals. Despite the abundance and diversity of gliding mammals, little is known about their convergent morphology and mechanisms of aerodynamic control. Many gliding animals are capable of impressive and agile aerial behaviors and their flight performance depends on the aerodynamic forces resulting from airflow interacting with a flexible, membranous wing (patagium). Although the mechanisms that gliders use to control dynamic flight are poorly understood, the shape of the gliding membrane (e.g., angle of attack, camber) is likely a primary factor governing the control of the interaction between aerodynamic forces and the animal’s body. Data from field studies of gliding behavior, lab experiments examining membrane shape changes during glides and morphological and materials testing data of gliding membranes will be presented that can aid our understanding of the mechanisms gliding mammals use to control their membranous wings and potentially provide insights into the design of man-made flexible wings.
If you are interested in meeting with Dr. Greg Byrnes, please contact Patricia Martinez at firstname.lastname@example.org
Biography: Dr. Greg Byrnes is an Associate Professor of Biology at Siena College in New York. He completed his Ph.D. in Integrative Biology at the University of California, Berkeley in 2009, investigating the biomechanical and ecological contexts of gliding in mammals. He conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Cincinnati, studying the biomechanics of locomotion in arboreal snakes. His broad research interests are in understanding how and why animals move and understanding how we can apply these strategies to the engineering problems.