In the blink of an eye – biology through the lens of a high-speed camera

A Hoverfly taking off.

A Hoverfly taking off. Image via Dr. Ulrike Muller

Have you ever wondered what all can happen in a blink of an eye? At Fresno State, Dr. Ulrike Müller and her research team study how small organisms move and feed. Small organisms are not only hard to see because they are small but also because they often move very fast. Using high-speed cameras that can record at 50,000 images per second and more, the team is studying how insects fly, how fish swim and how carnivorous plants catch their prey. They found that plants might just be the fastest predators, ingesting their prey in less than 1 millisecond, and that fish larvae can swim at more than 60 body lengths per second – for comparison, Michael Phelps reaches around 1 body length per second. High-speed recordings are helping us to understand how animals generate large forces to move fast, and how they control their movements. High-speed cameras help us discover new ways to swim and to fly to inspire new designs for small flying and swimming robots.
Dr. Ulrike Müller is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biology at California State University, Fresno. To get a preview of Dr. Müller’s talk, tune in to KFCF 88.1FM (or stream online) at 3:30 PM on Tuesday, 28 April 2015, for the next episode of our radio show Science: A Candle In The Dark, where she will be the featured guest. Then join us at Peeve’s Pub the following week for a presentation by Dr. Müller about life in motion, as seen through the lens of high speed cameras. Dr. Müller will share some astonishing videos and images recorded in her laboratory showing some of the extraordinary ways in which different small organisms move. Check out this Snakefly take off, for example.

When: Monday, 4 May 2015, 7:00 PM

Where:  Peeve’s Public House
, 1243 Fulton Mall, Fresno, CA 93721

Contact:  559-278-2460 (cafe inquiries) / 559-573-5735 (Pub’s number)

Here’s the full poster for this event – please feel free to download, print, and share with your friends and family: