Tuesday, September 18 2018
3:00pm - 4:00pm
Klaus 1116 East
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Rough terrain, earthquakes, muscle spasms, and the loss of limbs - how polypedal animals can adapt their gait to keep moving under difficult circumstances

Soft Condensed Matter & Physics of Living Systems Seminar: Dr. Andrew Spence, Temple University

Almost all animals must move to survive and reproduce. But it's rarely easy to move in the wild - animals typically face multiple challenges when trying to get from A to B. This talk will present loosely connected work centered on how gait, gait regulation, and gait adaptation in many-legged animals can give insight into several interesting aspects of locomotor biology.

Work showing that dog gait dynamics can be parsimoniously predicted using symmetry considerations, but only after including a constant phase shift between fore and hind limbs, that in turn depends on dog aspect ratio, will be presented. Subsequent work examining dogs walking on rough terrain, mice being perturbed externally via earthquakes and internally via muscle stimulation, and spiders being perturbed through autotomy (self-amputation), will be discussed.

The collective results suggest that gait regulation is gait specific (walking regulation varies from trotting regulation), that the gait specific variance may reflect static vs dynamic constraints, and that gait adaptation can occur on the temporal dimension (e.g. limping), and not just in phase relationships, or spatial changes.

Click images in enlarge.