Thesis subject

What frogs want? Substrate preferences in climbing tree frogs

With their specialised toe pads, tree frogs can attach to smooth, rough and even wet surfaces. This makes them an interesting model for studying biological attachment mechanisms (e.g. dry and wet adhesion) and for the development of biomimetic adhesives, e.g. novel surgical tools.

For a better understanding of the fundamentals of tree frog attachment, we combine experimental (force measurements, kinematics) and numerical (FEA) approaches with analyses of the pad morphology.

Thesis content
The roughness of the substrate has a major effect on the attachment performance of tree frogs. It is largely unknown, if tree frogs prefer specific levels of substrate roughness. You will study the behaviour and substrate preference in the tree frog species H. cinerea and L. caerulea using a rotation table experiment.
This project includes a literature study and the manufacturing of substrates with different roughnesses. Further, you will quantify the attachment performance (adhesion and friction) and the behaviour on these substrates experimentally.

The following requirements should be fulfilled by the applicant:
-Good knowledge in biomechanics
-Good knowledge in statistics
-Good knowledge in MS Office; experience with MATLAB is helpful
-Good understanding of adhesion, friction and contact mechanics is helpful

For questions or application (incl. CV and letter of motivation), please contact Julian Langowski:

Wageningen UR, Experimental Zoology Group
contact form or phone no. +31 (0)317 482688

Examiner: Prof. Dr. Ir. Johan L. van Leeuwen
Supervisors: Julian K.A. Langowski
Contact: Julian K.A. Langowski (via contact form)
Begin date: 01/09/2017 (variable)
End date: 01/02/2018 (variable)
Credits: 30 ECTS (variable)
For: MSc Biology
Requirements: See thesis description
Used skills: Experimental design, Surface chemistry, Data management, Image recording and analysis, Programming (MATLAB), Adhesion and tribology, Biomimet-ics, Scientific writing and presentation