Ally Irwin


2018: PhD researcher, Natural History Museum, London

2017-2018: Research Assistant, Ecology of Vision Lab, University of Bristol 

2013-2017: MSci Marine Biology, University of Southampton, National Oceanography Centre


Previous Research:

My love of evolutionary biology stems from my MSci Marine Biology degree at the University of Southampton. During my Master's year, I analysed ancient marine reptile specimens for evidence of trauma and disease, a project I became interested in during a placement in Oslo NHM. 

Current Resarch:

My undergraudate degree also gave me a keen interest in sensory biology, which I further developed as a research assistant in the Ecology of Vision group. I have mainly been investigating contrast vision in shore crabs, supervised by Dr Martin How. 

Future Research:

This year I will start an exciting PhD project exploring why and how complex camera eyes evolved in the marine gastropod family Strombidae (true conchs). I will use molecular, morphological and behavioural studies to build a phylogenetic history, identify genes associated with vision, and explore visual adaptations. These combined techniques will enable a new understanding of how these animals see their own uniquely coloured shells and their surroundings. This project will be supervised by Dr Suzanne Williams (NHM), Dr Nick Roberts (University of Bristol) and Dr Liz Harper (University of Cambridge).