A study by the Liquid Life Laboratory at West Chester University reveals that dolphins when accelerating can produce at staggering 5,400 watts of energy. Scientists used a technique designed to measure the muscle power of Olympic swimmers on two dolphins.
They filmed the dolphins as they swam along the length of a bubble curtain, recording the vortices created by the dolphins’ flukes as the animals surged forward. Calculations based on the measurements of these vortices reveal how much power a swimmer is producing.
‘We were in this concrete underwater viewing area,’ said lead author, Frank Fish a professor of biology at West Chester University. ‘It was cold and damp, but you would get really excited and forget about that as you saw the animal go past and you’d see the vortices come out so nicely.’
The study is published in the latest issue of the Journal of Experimental Biology.