Professor Adrian Thomas

Research Interests

Biomechanics, Aerodynamics and Evolution: the adaptations of animals for aerodynamic and biomechanical performance provide a unique opportunity to analyse evolutionary processes because the optimal designs for particular aspects of performance can often be predicted a priori, and independently of the evolutionary history of the animals involved. I use aerodynamic theory to predict optimal morphologies for specific aspects of flight ecology (flight missions), and test the predictions with phylogenetically controlled comparative methods, with mechanical model organisms, and with free-flying or swimming animals in the laboratory, or in the field.

Additional Information

I am Director of Studies in Biological Sciences at Lady Margaret Hall. I run the animal flight research group in Zoology. I am chairman of the Flight section of the Bionis International Biomimetics Network. I am aerodynamics consultant with Airwave GMBH paraglider, hangglider and ultralight aircraft manufacturers.

  • Aerodynamic characteristics of hoverflies during hovering flight

  • Free Flight Physiology: Paragliding and the Study of Extreme Altitude.

  • The flight of the dragonfl y

  • Soaring energetics and glide performance in a moving atmosphere.

  • Thermal soaring characteristics in a Steppe Eagle

  • Wing tucks are a response to atmospheric turbulence in the soaring flight of the steppe eagle Aquila nipalensis.

  • Analysis of the function and mechanics of the wing tuck manoeuvre in a steppe eagle Aquila nipalensis

  • Wake development behind paired wings with tip and root trailing vortices: consequences for animal flight force estimates.

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