Dr Martin How


BA. Biological Sciences, Jesus College, University of Oxford, UK.

MSc. Applied Marine Science. University of Plymouth, UK. The use of photo-identification for investigating the behaviour of the basking shark: an analysis of three years of SeaQuest Survey Data. Supervised by Dr. Gillian Glegg, University of Plymouth.

PhD. The Australian National University. The fiddler crab claw-waving display: an analysis of the structure and function of a movement-based visual signal. Supervised by Dr Jochen Zeil, Dr Jan Hemmi and Dr Richard Peters. Visual Ecology Group, ARC Centre of Excellence in Vision Science.

Research Projects

Despite their small size, low-resolution visual systems and relatively limited neural processing power, many invertebrates are able to perform complex visually-guided behaviours. Research questions that I am pursuing include:

  • How are invertebrate eyes adapted to their local environment?
  • What are the perceptual limitations of invertebrate visual systems?
  • How do invertebrates extract useful information from visual input?
  • How do animals exploit observer visual systems for camouflage or communication?
  • What can we learn about visual systems that can be applied to the design of biomimetic machines?

Selected Publications 

  • How, M.J., Christy, J., Temple, S. E., Hemmi, J. M., Marshall, N. J., Roberts, N.W.  2015. Target detection is enhanced by polarization vision in a fiddler crab. Current Biology. 25: 3069–3073. 
  • Gagnon, Y.L., Templin, R.M., How, M.J., Marshall, N.J. 2015. Circularly polarized light as a communication signal in mantis shrimp. Current Biology. 25: 3074–3078.
  • Enright, J. M., Toomey, M. B., Sato, S, Temple, S. E., Allen, J. E.,  Fujiwara, R., Kramlinger, V. M., Nagy, L. D., Johnson, K. M., Xiao, Y., How, M. J., Johnson, S. L.,  Roberts, N. W., Kefalov, V. J., Guengerich, F. P., Corbo, J. C.  Cyp27c1 red-shifts the spectral sensitivity of photoreceptors by converting vitamin A1 into A2. Current Biology 25: 3048-3057.
  • How, M.J., Christy, J., Roberts, N.W. and Marshall, N.J. 2014. Null point of discrimination in crustacean polarisation vision. Journal of Experimental Biology. In press.
  • Thoen, H.T., How, M.J., Chiou, T-H. & Marshall, N.J. 2014. A new form of colour vision in the mantis shrimp. Science. 343(6169): 411-413 
  • How, M. J., & Marshall, N. J. 2014. Polarization distance: a framework for modelling object detection by polarization vision systems. Proceedings of the Royal  Society B: Biological Sciences, 281(1776): 20131632.
  • How, M.J. & Zanker, J.M. 2014. Motion camouflage induced by zebra stripes. Zoology. In Press. 
  • Alkaladi, A., How, M.J. & Zeil, J. 2013. Systematic variations in microvilli banding patterns along fiddler crab rhabdoms. Journal of Comparative Physiology A. 199(2): 99-113 
  • How, M.J., Pignatelli, V., Te mple, S.E., Marshall, N.J. and Hemmi, J.M. 2012. High e-vector acuity in the polarisation vision system of the fiddler crab Uca vomerisJournal of Experimental Biology. 215: 2128-2134 
  • Temple, S.E., Pignatelli, V., Cook, T., How, M.J., Chiou, T-H., Roberts, N.W., and Marshall, N.J. 2012. High-resolution polarization vision in a cuttlefish. Current Biology. 22:R121-R122 
  • Zylinski, S., How, M.J., Osorio, D., Hanlon, R.T., and Marshall, N.J. 2011. To be seen or to hide: visual characteristics of body patterns for camouflage and communication in the Australian giant cuttlefish Sepia apamaAmerican Naturalist. 177:681-690
  • Williams, S.B., Pizarro, O., How, M.J., Hanlon, R., Mercer, D., and Powell, G. 2009. Surveying nocturnal cuttlefish camouflage behaviour using an AUV. IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation. 214-219.
  • How, M.J., Zeil, J. and Hemmi, J.M. 2009. Variability of a dynamic visual signal: The fiddler crab claw-waving display. Journal of Comparative Physiology A. 195:55-67 
  • How, M.J. and Hemmi, J.M. 2008. Courtship herding in the fiddler crab Uca elegansJournal of Comparative Physiology A. 194:1053-1061 
  • How, M.J. and Hemmi, J.M. 2008. Courtship herding in the fiddler crab Uca elegans: tracking control systems. Animal Behaviour. 76:1259-1265 
  • How, M.J. 2008The fiddler crab claw-waving display: an analysis of the structure and function of a movement-based visual signal. PhD Thesis: The Australian National University, Canberra. (http://thesis.anu.edu.au/public/adt-ANU20081001.111333/index.html)
  • How, M.J., Hemmi, J.M., Zeil, J. and Peters, R.A. 2008. Claw waving display changes with receiver distance in the fiddler crab, Uca perplexaAnimal Behaviour. 75:1015-1022 
  • How, M.J., Zeil, J. and Hemmi, J.M. 2007. Differences in context and function of two distinct waving displays in the fiddler crabs, Uca perplexa (Decapoda: Ocypodidae).Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology. 62:137-148