Imagine how the world appears to a fish or a bird. What does a coral reef look like with ultra-violet vision or could you use the patterns of polarization in the sky to navigate?
These are the types of questions that drive our research in the ECOLOGY OF VISION laboratory at Bristol. We are interested in how and why such an incredible array of visual specialisations have evolved throughout the animal kingdom
Current research directions are:
How animals (fish, fiddler crabs, stomatopods, cephalopods, insects) see the polarization of light.
How animals use optical structures to manipulate light in ways that humans have not yet thought of.
Dazzle camouflage and the motion dazzle effects of animal stripe patterns.
How to hide in the open ocean - the optics of silvery camouflage.
How animals cope and still see with extreme changes in light levels
Multi-dimensional coding of visual information - bio-inspired efficient and fast combined processing of colour, intensity and polarization.
The effects of light pollution on the visual ecology of animals.
At Bristol we have pioneered a number of new experimental techniques for work in both the field and in the lab.
We have created methods for controlling the polarization of light and intensity at the same time for animal behaviour experiments. We use imaging microspectrophotometry and digital- holographic microscopy for cellular level studies. We have developed several polarization video cameras based on the way animals see. Computationally, we have produced FDTD modelling code to understand the function of structural colouration and polarization senstivity in several animals.
We also conduct fieldwork around the world: We use field sites in the Pyrenees, Spain, Panama and Lizard IsIand on the Australian Great Barrier Reef.
We are always interested in enquires from potential research fellows, post-doc and PhD students. See where we've just moved into - the new University of Bristol Life Sciences building - click for link