"Exploring Neuromechanical Resonance in Jellyfish Locomotion"
In order for an organism to have a robust mode of locomotion, their neuromuscular organization must be adaptable in a changing environment. In jellyfish, the activation and release of muscular tension is governed by the interaction of pacemakers with the underlying motor nerve net that communicates with the musculature. This set of equally-spaced pacemakers located at bell rim alter their firing frequency in response to environmental cues, forming a distributed mechanism to control the bell's muscular contraction. The relative simplicity of the jellyfish nervous system presents mathematicians with the opportunity to examine an intriguing multi-scale, multi-physics system with many potential applications to soft-body robotics and tissue-engineered pumps. In this talk, we explore the control of medusan neuromuscular activation in with a model jellyfish bell immersed in a viscous fluid and use numerical simulations to describe the interplay between active muscle contraction, passive body elasticity, and fluid forces. The fully-coupled fluid structure interaction problem is resolved using an adaptive and parallelized version of the immersed boundary method (IBAMR). This model is then used to explore the interplay between the speed of neuromechanical activation, fluid dynamics, and the material properties of the bell.