(280a) Non-Invasive Biomechanical Assessment of Low-Reynolds Undulatory Swimming
Nematodes, such as C. elegans, achieve locomotion by using the bending motion of their body to propagate traveling waves along their length. While these low-Reynolds number swimmers have long been described by theoretical fluid models (e.g. slender body theory), the implementation of such has been largely confined to prescribed analytical profiles of the animal body (i.e. traveling wave pattern). In the present work, we compute force and moment signals of C. elegans swimming at low-Reynolds numbers from high spatial and temporal image analysis, using resistive force theory coupled with force and moment balances for the slender body. By combining experimentally obtained kinematic data and assuming the animal to be modeled as an elastic slender filament immersed in a viscous fluid, we investigate biomechanical properties (i.e. body stiffness) of C. elegans which govern its bending motion leading to propulsion.