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Stalk structure improves feeding position: sea anemone


Clonal plumose anemone colony / Asbjørn Han.. / LicenseCC-by-nc-nd - Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives

The stalk of a tall sea anemone maximizes the anemone's feeding postion by bending at its narrowest part, just below its crown of tentacles.

"In some cases, nature capitalizes on the way hollow tubes bend. A tall sea anemone, Metridium, has an area of its columnar body just beneath the crown of tentacles that is narrower than anywhere else, as in figure 18.9. The material properties of the stalk don't vary, but when a gentle water current is present, the stalk bends at this point rather than at the bottom, and the tentacles are exposed broadside to the flow in the best position for feeding on suspended matter (Koehl 1977b). It doesn't take much narrowing to concentrate the bending--I [the second moment of area], as equation (18.1) shows, depends strongly on radius." (Vogel 2003:376)
About the inspiring organism
Med_occ3a9anopolis__les_aquariums_008 clonal plumose anemone
Metridium senile (Linnaeus, 1761)
Common name: Clonal plumose anemone

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Some organism data provided by: Hexacorals: Hexacorallians of the World
Organism/taxonomy data provided by:
Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2008 Annual Checklist

IUCN Red List Status: Unknown

Bioinspired products and application ideas

Application Ideas: Communications towers, wind turbines, tents, stadium-like structures, etc. that are stable yet require fewer materials to manufacture.

Industrial Sector(s) interested in this strategy: Communications, engineering, wind energy

Koehl Lab: Ecological and Evolutionary Biomechanics
Mimi A.R. Koehl
Department of Zoology, University of California--Berkeley
Vogel S. 2003. Comparative Biomechanics: Life's Physical World. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 580 p.
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Koehl, MAR. 1977. Mechanical organization of cantilever-like sessile organisms: sea anemones. Journal of Experimental Biology. 69: 127-142.
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