New insight on how four species of seabirds have developed the ability to cruise through both air and water has been published today in the open-access journal eLife.
The study reveals that these birds, from the Alcidae family which includes puffins, murres and their relatives, produce efficient propulsive wakes while flying and swimming. This means that the animals likely spend relatively low amounts of metabolic energy when creating the force they need to move in both air and water. The findings suggest that alcids have been optimised for movement in very different environments through the course of their evolution. MORE