Graham Taylor

Professor of Mathematical Biology

Peter Brunet Fellow and Tutor in Biological and Human Sciences at Jesus College


Research Interests

My research focuses on the dynamics and control of animal flight, but reflects a broader interest in the dynamics of biological systems in general. My research sits at the interface of Biomechanics and Neurophysiology, with feeds to and from Engineering. My general approach is to use the tools of flight dynamics to analyse biological problems related to the stability and control of animal flight. I am interested specifically in understanding how evolution co-tunes the physics and physiology of complex dynamical systems to achieve the extraordinary unsteady flight performance of birds and insects. The empirical thrust of my research follows two main streams: analysing the vision-based control systems of insects flying tethered in a virtual reality flight simulator, and analysing the role of morphing wing and tail surfaces on free-flying birds carrying wireless video cameras and inertial measurement units. My work with free-flying birds is part of a wider joint project with Adrian Thomas, working on aerodynamic aspects of bird flight, with Tim Guilford, working on navigational aspects, and with Marko Bacic in the Engineering Department, working on control aspects. I also collaborate with Chris Graham and Adrian Thomas on a project analysing the control of flow dynamics in developing zygotes.






Selected Publications

  • Taylor, G.K., Nudds, R.L., & Thomas, A.L.R. (2003) Flying and swimming animals cruise at a Strouhal number tuned for high power efficiency. Nature 425, 707-711.
  • Taylor, G.K. & Zbikowski, R. (2005) Nonlinear time-periodic models of the longitudinal flight dynamics of desert locusts Schistocerca gregaria. J. Roy. Soc. Interface 2, 197-221.
  • Taylor, G.K. & Krapp, H.G. (2007) Sensory systems and flight stability: what do insects measure and why? In: J. Casas & S.J. Simpson (eds.) Insect Mechanics and Control. Vol. 34 of Adv. in Insect Physiol., pp. 231-316. Academic Press, London.
  • Carruthers, A. C., Thomas, A. L. R. & Taylor, G. K. (2007). Automatic aeroelastic devices in the wings of a Steppe Eagle Aquila nipalensis. J. Exp. Biol. 210, 4136-4149. doi: 10.1242/jeb.011197
  • Walker, S. M. & Thomas, A. L. R. & Taylor, G. K. (2008). Photogrammetric reconstruction of high-resolution surface topographies and deformable wing kinematics of tethered locusts and free-flying hoverflies. J. Roy. Soc. Interface 10.1098/rsif.2008.0245