Lab Members

(click photo or name for full biography)


Dr Nicholas Roberts

Nick is a Reader in the School of Biological Sciences and is currently the School's Director of Research. His research concerns many aspects of visual ecology, animal vision and signalling. He is particularly interested in discovering new optical principles that animals exploit and how these influence visually guided behaviour.  The lab has pioneered and uses many novel optical and behavioural techniques.

Dr Martin How

Martin is a Royal Society University Research Fellow and holds a proleptic lectureship. His research focuses predominately on the visual ecology of marine and intertidal organisms. Specifically, he studies the detection of polarized light in mantis shrimps and fiddler crabs, colour vision in crustaceans and skin camouflage patterns in a variety of species, including nudibranchs, cuttlefish and zebra.


Research Fellows


Dr Michael Bok

Michael is a BBSRC Future Leaders Fellow. His current research and previous post doctoral research in Lund, Sweden with Dan-Eric Nilsson deals with some of life’s poorest preforming eyes found in annelid worms and other aquatic invertebrates. He is interested in unraveling the functions and behaviors that drove the evolution of these simple eyes and perhaps also influenced the origins of the very first visual systems. 

His  PhD research was with Thomas Cronin in Baltimore and concerned the physiological, ecological, and evolutionary basis of ultraviolet vision in mantis shrimp.


Postdoctoral Researchers

Dr David Wilby

David is a post-doctoral research associate funded by the Leverhulme Trust. His main research interests concern optical effects in retinal photoreceptor cells and the influence of optics on vision. Particularly he is working on the optics of oil droplets and double cones in the vertebrate retina.

Dr Ilse Daly

Ilse is a post-doctoral research associate funded by AFRL. Her PhD research focused on the eye movements of stomatopod crustaceans, using a custom stereo eye tracking method she studies how the bizarre eyes of the mantis shrimp respond to various environmental stimuli. 

PhD Students


Emelie Brodrick

Emelie is a PhD student funded by the Royal Society. She is researching the intricacies of how the eyes of crustaceans such as Fiddler crabs, deal with rapidly changing light environments and how this may affect their sensitivity to polarized light. Her project uses a range of study techniques, from micro-anatomical studies to behavioural experiments in the animal’s natural environmentEmelie is supervised by Dr Martin How & Dr Nicholas Roberts.


Sam Smithers

Sam is a PhD student funded by the University of Bristol and DSTL. His research concerns how and why crustaceans see the polarization of light. Using behavioural experiments, Sam is studying polarization vision in shore crabs, fiddler crabs and mantis shrimp. He is supervised by Dr Nicholas Roberts & Dr Martin How.


Alex Tibbs

Alex is a PhD student funded by the EPSRC Doctoral Training Centre in Communications. Placed jointly between the Visual Information lab in Engineering and the Ecology of Vision lab he is studying image processing for polarization cameras. Taking inspiration from animal vision, he is researching how best to exploit polarization in man-made camera systems. He is supervised by Prof Dave Bull & Dr Nicholas Roberts.


Research Assistant

Rochelle Meah

Rochelle is a research assistant funded by AFRL. Her research focuses on polarization vision in horse and stable flies. Using behavioural experiments she will study the visual sensitivity of the biting flies to polarized light and quantify the polarization information available in their natural habitat. 


Honorary Research Fellow

Dr Shelby Temple

Shelby is an honorary research fellow, maintaining links with the group after leaving to set up AzulOptics and develop the commercial potential of research. Shelby has been interested in polarization perception in cephalopods, fish and humans and is currently working on commercializing a polarization-based tool for measuring macular pigment density in the human retina. Shelby recently won the 2017 UK Innovator of the Year Award by the UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

Visiting Researchers

Joren Bruggink

Sam Chivers



Dr Kathryn Feller - Currently a Marie Curie Fellow at the University of Cambridge.

Xin Wang - Currently finishing his PhD at HFei University of Technology, China.

Dr Milly Sharkey - Currently a PostDoc in the Bebe Group, BYU, USA.

Dr James Foster - Currently a PostDoc in the Animal Vision Group, Lund University, Sweden.

Dr Tom Jordan -  Currently a Marie Curie Fellow in the School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol. 

Dr Juliette McGregror - Currently a PostDoc in the Department of  Optics, UNiversity of Rochester, USA



Jack Vaughan - 4th Year MSci - Visual ecology of hermit crabs. Working with Dr Martin How & Dr David Wilby

Benito Wainwright & Amy Ockenden - 3rd Year - Polarization for breaking camouflage. Working with Dr Nicholas Roberts.

Katarina Kovijanic & Daniel Altman - 3rd Year -  Asymmetry in contrast detection above and below water . Working with Dr Nicholas Roberts.

Sam South & Jacob Povey - 3rd Year - Polarization vision in praying mantis. Working with Dr Nicholas Roberts.

Nelson Butterfield and Ryan Mayes - 3rd Year - Contrast detection in hermit crabs. Working with Dr Martin How.



Samuel Riches (MSci) - Colour vision and behavioural crypsis in hermit crabs. Working with Dr Nicholas Roberts & Dr David Wilby

Leah Fowles & Georgina Richman (BSc) - Polarization vision in shore crabs. Working with Dr Nicholas Roberts & Dr Martin How

Sheryl Jared & Anna Tetley (BSc) - Colour vision in stomatopods. Working with Dr Nicholas Roberts, Ilse Daly & Dr Martin How

Lizard Island - Spring 2014

Lizard Island - Spring 2014