People

 

Prof Martin Stevens 

martin.stevens@exeter.ac.uk  |  01326 259358

Group Leader

Professor of Sensory and Evolutionary Ecology

SERSF Building (room 1.21), Centre for Ecology and Conservation, University of Exeter, Penryn Campus, Penryn, Cornwall, TR10 9FE. UK.

More About Martin

Career

2017 Professor of Sensory and Evolutionary Ecology

2015 Associate Professor of Sensory and Evolutionary Ecology

2012-2014 BBSRC David Philips Senior Research Fellow

2009-2012 Fellow, Churchill College, Cambridge

2009-2012 BBSRC David Phillips Senior Research Fellow, Cambridge

2006-2009 Research Fellow, Girton College, Cambridge

2006 PhD Bristol

Publications

See publications page for full list and Google Scholar for list plus citations.

Books

Stevens, M. Cheats and Deceits: How Animals and Plants Exploit and Mislead. 2016. Oxford University Press.

Stevens, M. Sensory Ecology, Behaviour, and Evolution. 2013. Oxford University Press.

Stevens, M. & Merilaita, S. (Editors). 2011. Animal Camouflage: From Mechanisms to Function. Cambridge University Press.

Journal Publications

Over 100 full journal publications in a range of journals spanning Nature, PNAS, Nature Communications, BMC Biology, Proceedings B, and many others.

Main and Recent External Grants as PI

01/10/2017 – 30/09/2020: BBSRC Industrial Partnership Award (part funded by QinetiQ), £376,743. How to optimise imperfect camouflage.

01/08/2018 – 01/02/2019: British Eventing, £9,849. Horse Vision: performance, safety, and welfare.

01/09/2017 – 01/02/2018: Racing Foundation and British Horseracing Authority, £43,542. Horse vision, obstacle visibility, and safety.

01/12/2016 – 31/05/2017: BBSRC Pathfinder, £11,000. Imaging Animal Vision.

2017-2018: Multiple Industry Grants, ca£50,000.

01/03/2017 – 31/03/2017: EasyFix, £3,175. Horse vision and fence design.

10/08/2016 – 24/08/2016: Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo – FAPESP, £2,268. Visiting research position at University of São Paulo.

01/10/2014 – 30/09/2017: BBSRC, £371,695. Predator learning of camouflage types. (with Co-I John Skelhorn, Newcastle University).

01/08/2012 – 30/09/2014: BBSRC, £520,000. Predator Vision and Avian Egg Camouflage.

01/10/2009 – 03/03/2015: BBSRC David Phillips Fellowship: £1,002,266. Predator vision and defensive coloration: from mechanism to function.

Invited Lectures

Public Lectures

Royal Institution (London), Royal Geographical Society, Army and Navy Club (Washington DC), Hay-on-Wye Book Festival, Brighton Science Festival, Café Scientifique, Penzance Literary Festival, and others.

Academic Lectures

UK: University of Sussex (Biology & Environmental Science); University of Exeter (Psychology); Royal Holloway (Psychology); Newcastle University (Neuroscience); University of Oxford (Zoology, EGI); University of Edinburgh (Institute for Evolutionary Biology); University of Bristol (Vision Institute and School of Biological Sciences); University of Bath (Biology & Biochemistry); International Primatological Conference, Edinburgh (2008).

Mainland Europe: Stockholm University (Zoology) Sweden; University of Jyväskylä (Biological and Environmental Sciences), Finland; Uppsala University (Ecology & Evolution), Sweden; Bern University (Institute of Ecology & Evolution), Switzerland; European Congress on Behavioural Biology, Dijon, France (2008); European Society for Evolutionary Biology, Lisbon, Portugal (2013); University of Geneva (Genetics and Evolution), Switzerland (2015); Wiko Berlin, Animal Coloration Meeting.

USA: Wake Forest University (Biology); University of Nebraska (Biology); University of Chicago (Ecology and Evolution); Stanford University (Biology); Princeton University (Ecology & Evolutionary Biology); New York University (Anthropology); City University New York, Hunter College (Psychology); University of California Davis (Biology); University of California Santa Cruz (Biology); University of California LA (Biology); Smithsonian/Army and Navy Club, Washington DC, USA.

Asia: National University of Singapore (Biology); International Primatological Conference, Kyoto, Japan (2010); Integrative Behavioral Biology, Xi’an, China (2011, Keynote); International Symposium on Avian Brood Parasitism, Hainan, China (2012); Camouflage Cultures: surveillance, communities, aesthetics, animals (2013), Sydney, Australia.

South America: Centre for Marine Biology, University of São Paulo

Media and Outreach

I have and currently work with a wide range of companies and organisations, including: Natural History Museum, London; California Academy of Sciences; Frieze Art Foundation; BBC; Rentokil Initial; QinetiQ; British Horseracing Authority; British Eventing; Greyhound Board of great Britain; EasyFix; Donkey Sanctuary; National Lobster Hatchery; Bird World; Zoological Lighting Institute.

My work has been covered in a wide range of media including on various occasions on BBC Earth News, the New York Times, the Times, LA Times, Japan Times, USA Today, the Telegraph, the Daily Mail, the Independent, the Australian, Time Magazine, New Scientist, National Geographic, MSNBC, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Scotland, CBC Radio Canada, NPR Radio USA, German Radio WDR 5, Discovery, Nature, Science, TREE, Proceedings B, Discover, Natural History Magazine, Discovery Canada, Nature News, plus a wide range of national newspapers around the world and internet sites.

TV appearances: BBC 2, Inside the Animal Mind, programme 1 (28 January 2014); BBC1 The One Show (25 February 2014); National Geographic, Jurassic CSI, programme 1 (2011).

I have also been contacted by and appeared in a wide range of other reactive media outlets, including radio programmes of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, CBC Quirks and Quarks, and NPR on topics such as why zebras have stripes and animal camouflage and behaviour. I have also advised a range of organisations including the BBC1 and BBC 2, Channel 4, PBS, and the History Channel on TV programmes, and for other publications such as BBC Gardeners’ World, Smithsonian and various natural history magazines. Some of my research methods have been used in interactive museum exhibitions and school teaching in the USA. I have also helped with art exhibitions related to animal coloration.

I am also currently a BBSRC Schools Regional Champion for the SW for my outreach work to school students.

Dr Anna Hughes

anna.hughes@ucl.ac.uk

BBSRC Post-Doctoral Research Associate

Centre for Ecology and Conservation, University of Exeter.

More About Anna

The broad research question that I am interested in is how humans and other animals use visual information to search and interact with the world. I have an interdisciplinary background, including aspects of biology, psychology and neuroscience, and my research therefore brings together tools and techniques from these different areas.

During my research associate position at Falmouth, I will be working on a BBSRC/QinetiQ grant which will aim to try to understand how camouflage should be optimised in conditions where a target can be viewed against two or more backgrounds. I’ll be using both touch-screen games with human participants in the laboratory and also larger scale ‘citizen science’ games that will be played online.

I was awarded a BBSRC CASE studentship to complete my PhD at the University of Cambridge, under the supervision of Dr David Tolhurst and Dr Martin Stevens. My research focused on the concept of motion dazzle: the idea that certain animal patterns may have evolved to protect an animal when in motion, by making it difficult for a predator to accurately track their speed or direction. Classically, motion dazzle has been thought to be caused by high contrast, striking geometric patterns, such as the stripes found on zebra. I found evidence for striped patterns biasing trajectory estimation in human participants. However, I found that targets with other types of low contrast patterning can also be difficult to capture, suggesting that the classical definition of motion dazzle may be too limited.

I have also worked as a Teaching Fellow in Visual Perception at the Department of Experimental Psychology, University College London and was appointed as a Bye-Fellow at Homerton College (University of Cambridge).

Dr Yang Niu

newyoungs@126.com

Kunming Institute of Botany Post-Doctoral Research Associate

Centre for Ecology and Conservation, University of Exeter.

More about Yang

I’m interested in the reproduction and survival of alpine plants, focussing on the interaction between plants and their partners (pollinators) and enemies (herbivores).

Currently I’m a visiting postdoctoral researcher investigating the evolution of camouflage in plants. Using herbivore’s colour vision models, I’m examining whether some alpine plants exhibit divergent cryptic colour to optimize background matching. I’m also investigating whether human activity (collection) can act as a potential selective pressure to the evolution of plant camouflage.

I finished my PhD studies (in Prof Hang Sun’ Alpine Plant Diversity Group) from Kunming Institute of Botany (KIB), Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2012. During my PhD, I investigated the evolution of sexual system of Cyananthus, a plant genus endemic to Himalayan-Hengduan Mts. with various sexual systems.

During my work at KIB, I focused on the evolution of defensive plant colour under the pressure of herbivores and human activity. Colours are measured in terms of reflectance spectra and digital images, and analysed using various (e.g., pollinators or herbivores) colour vision systems. In the last few years, I used a plant-herbivore system (Corydalis-Parnassius) to investigate the significance of plant camouflage, and revealed that some camouflaged plant indeed has higher survivorship with limited cost.

Sara Mynott

s.mynott@exeter.ac.uk

NERC-funded PhD student

Centre for Ecology and Conservation, University of Exeter.

More About Sara

Supervisors: Martin Stevens (Primary), Steven Widdicombe (Plymouth Marine Laboratory)

Working on the impacts of climate change on intertidal species, camouflage and predation.

Current Research

In September 2014 I embarked on a PhD exploring how climate-related environmental change is affecting intertidal animals. I am particularly interested in how temperature and acidification influences the ability of crustaceans to camouflage, and, in turn, how this impacts their predation risk.

Camouflage is the most widespread way of avoiding predators, but stress can have a major impact on colour change in a number of species, and, as the climate changes, shifts in environmental conditions have the capacity to cause such stress.

I study camouflage in a variety of crustaceans, including common shore crabs, ghost crabs and chameleon prawns. By exposing them to different conditions and photographing them at regular intervals, we can find out how changing seawater properties affects their camouflage.

The photos can be used to model what individuals would look like from their predator’s perspective, and lets us discern whether one set of conditions leaves them more vulnerable to predation than another.

Previous Research

I completed my undergraduate in Environmental Geoscience at the University of Bristol in 2010 and moved into the marine realm, with a masters in Marine Ecology and Environmental Management at Queen Mary University of London in 2012.

My marine research to date has focussed on the temperature-size rule and its fitness trade-offs, as well as the methods used in crustacean fisheries management.

During my MSc, I explored the effect of temperature on the development and fitness of brine shrimp. By rearing the shrimp from cyst to adult, and measuring their size, survivorship and reproductive output, I was able to derive a possible mechanism for the temperature-size rule.

More recently, I conducted research into crustacean fisheries at University Marine Biological Station Millport (UMBSM). Field studies off the Scottish west coast coupled with aquarium studies at UMBSM allowed me to assess both how trap deployment and intraspecific interactions influenced total catch.

Victoria Lee

vel202@exeter.ac.uk

NERC-funded PhD student

Centre for Ecology and Conservation, University of Exeter.

More About Victoria

 

Jim Galloway

jg560@exeter.ac.uk

BBSRC-funded PhD student

Centre for Ecology and Conservation, University of Exeter.

More About Jim

Supervisors: Martin Stevens (Primary), Nicholas Roberts (University of Bristol), Tom Tregenza (University of Exeter)

Working on the role of vision and visual information in colour change and camouflage in crustaceans.

Current Research

My PhD project aims to examine the role of vision in animals capable of colour change, and how this ability to change colour aids in camouflage. I am specifically looking at the role vision plays in allowing animals capable of colour change to match their background, focussing on crabs and chameleon prawns.

This research will examine how animals capable of changing colour use it to adapt to environmental variation, not just the visual difference in backgrounds, but to changes in light conditions as well.

Previous Research

BSc Biology (Hons), Royal Holloway University of London, 2012 – 2015

I obtained a BSc Biology from Royal Holloway University of London in 2015, where my undergraduate research project tested the potential for DNA Barcoding to be used as a tool for identifying pasitoids of the Short-haired Bumblebee. Following my undergraduate degree, I stayed at Royal Holloway for 3 months as a research assistant on a project examining the phylogeography of the bumblebee parasite Spherularia bombi.

MSc Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology, 2016 – 2017

In September2016 I started an MSc in Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology at the University of Exeter. My research project was with the Sensory Ecology lab, and used Hippolyte varians, the chameleon prawn, and rock gobies to directly examine the effectiveness of camouflage (specifically background matching) as an antipredator defence. This research involved the creation of artificial rockpools with one colour of seaweed, and prawns that both matched and didn’t match the seaweed to see if those that matched had a survival advantage.

Javier Medel Hidalgo

javierantoniomedelhidalgo@gmail.com

CONICYT Funded PhD Student

Centre for Ecology and Conservation, University of Exeter.

More About Javier

Supervisors: Martin Stevens (Primary), Andrew Young

Working on camouflage and sexual signals in birds.

Current research

The goal of my PhD research is testing the mechanisms and function of avian plumage camouflage. To address this research, I will use two ground-nesting species in open habitats with a wide distribution, the Eurasian nightjar (Caprimulgus europaeus) and Eurasian golden plover (Pluvialis apricaria). The general objective of this work is to investigate the colour of these birds’ plumage and determine how their camouflage depends on the environment in which the species inhabit. It will also investigate the different types of camouflage used, in accordance with behaviour, natural history, and visual perception of main predators of these species. This research will divide into three topics: I) Identification of differences that exist in camouflage in a wide variety of habitats, II) determining how the distribution and the characteristics of colour patterns in different regions of the body are optimized in the sexual communication and camouflage, and III) analysis of how changes in habitat by human actions affect may affect camouflage function and value.

My PhD studies are sponsored by the Chilean National Commission for Scientific and Technological Scholarships (CONICYT).

Previous research

During my Bachelor degree in Biological Sciences in the Universidad Austral de Chile (UACh) my work focussed on the behaviour, breeding habitat requirements, and migratory movements of austral birds of prey species, such as white-throated hawk (Buteo albigula), rufous-tailed hawk (Buteo ventralis) and Chilean Hawk (Accipiter Chilensis) in a variety of ecosystems, principally in the ecoregion of Valdivian temperate rainforest and Andean foothills of the Atacama Desert.

 

Sam Green

s.green4@exeter.ac.uk

PhD student

Centre for Ecology and Conservation, University of Exeter.

More about Sam

Supervisors: Martin Stevens (Primary), Alastair Wilson

Working on the colour change and behavioural camouflage strategies used by the chameleon prawn (Hippolyte varians).

Current Research:

My research aims to better understand; a) the adaptive values provided by longer-duration colour changes from the perspectives of ecologically relevant predator visual systems, b) the different camouflage strategies utilised by discrete colour forms within a species capable of colour change, c) how behavioural adaptations interact with colour change to effect camouflage, and d) why some animals display circadian rhythms of colour change and what adaptive function these changes may have.

My thesis focuses on the chameleon prawn (Hippolyte varians). A species that is found in a wide variety of colour forms and is able to change colour to improve camouflage.

Previous Research:

Alongside my postgraduate studies I have worked as a graduate research assistant with Martin in a variety of projects. Firstly, an animal vision based project for Rentokil, UK. Secondly, looking at the lighting and visual environments within livestock farming enclosures through animal vision aiming to improve welfare and productivity. Finally, a project investigating differences in the antipredator adaptations and behaviours displayed by adults and juveniles in a range of intertidal crab species.

BSc Zoology (hons), University of Exeter, 2013- 2016.

Undergraduate research project supervised by Professor Dave Hodgson investigating the use of fluorescence as an antipredator deterrent.

https://uk.linkedin.com/in/samgreen1991

Jenna Proctor

jp462@exeter.ac.uk

MSc by Research student

Centre for Ecology and Conservation, University of Exeter.

More about Jenna

Supervisors: Martin Stevens (Primary), Tom Tregenza

Working on the adaptive camouflage of the furrowed crabs and investigating their ability to background match through moulting and behaviour.

Current research:

My project investigates how camouflage can be adapted to allow animals to move freely across environments that are highly variable. These gradual camouflage adaptations are becoming more commonly studied. Previous work by Martin Stevens has found that the European green shore crab (Carcinus maenas) are capable of using a mixture of behavioural colouration matching and consecutive moulting in order to match their carapace colouration to their surrounding environment. While many other intertidal animals are also thought to adopt this technique it has seldom been explored. I hope to use a mixture of field and laboratory experiments to investigate this strategy in the understudied furrowed crab (Xantho hydrophilus).

I plan to investigate how well the furrowed crab can visually camouflage their carapaces through background matching. I will set up tanks with various colours and degrees of brightness and allow crabs to moult while on these backgrounds. I will record their changes using digital camouflage and image analysis. This will allow me to assess the colour changes of each crab.

Previous research:

I graduated from the University of Exeter in July 2016 where I completed a BSc in Zoology. I carried out a final year project that focused on the trail following behaviour of the common garden snail (Cornu aspersum). I aimed to investigate whether the slime trail of the snail acted as an information channel for other snails. I kept the snails in varying conditions and assessed whether this impacted other snails’ decisions of whether to follow a particular slime trail or not.

In the summer of 2015 I undertook a short project at Cambridge University. This project was to review and compile existing literature and data to investigate male weaponry across all taxa.

 

Emily Carter

ec355@exeter.ac.uk

MSc by Research student

Centre for Ecology and Conservation, University of Exeter.

More About Emily

Supervisors: Martin Stevens (Primary), Tom Tregenza

Working on how noise pollution affects colour change and camouflage in marine crustaceans.

Current research:

My project focusses on colour change and anti-predator behaviour in the common shore crab (Carcinus maenus) and how this may be affected by anthropogenic noise (e.g. from shipping).

The shore crab is renowned for its ability to change colour and exhibit background matching, camouflaging with its environment as a way of evading predation. Recently, work has assesses the time scale of this colour change and the effectiveness at matching a variety of backgrounds, including through vision models of potential predators, like birds. Despite this body of work, there are still gaps in our understanding of how this may be affected by unnatural external factors and the possible consequences for the species.

As is the case for many species, the shore crab’s environment has changed dramatically over the years, with a huge increase in the presence of artificial marine noise, particularly from shipping. Past work has demonstrated that such noise disrupts foraging, elevates stress levels, and negatively affects predator avoidance in the shore crab, begging the question as to whether the antipredator technique of colour change is also influenced by this. I aim to address this question through a series of experiments, exposing individuals to anthropogenic noise now found in the marine/coastal environment and assessing their colour change behaviour and movement, both under standard conditions and in response to the presence of a potential predator.

Previous research:

I graduated from the University of Exeter in July 2017 with a First Class Honours degree in Zoology with Study Abroad. For my undergraduate thesis I used published data from databases including the IUCN and PanTHERIA to assess the relationship between primate extinction risk and a range of intrinsic traits, as well as human population density. The aim was to further our understanding of why certain species are more vulnerable to extinction than others as this type of knowledge is important for the development of effective conservation strategies.

During the year I spent studying abroad in the USA at Coastal Carolina University (South Carolina), I also designed and lead a project testing the selfish herd hypothesis in wild fiddler crabs (Uca pugnax, pugilator and minax). Herds were analysed in terms of composition and individual positioning with regards to waving rate (to attract females), feeding rate and size. As individuals at the centre are less exposed to predators, being surrounded by conspecifics and so reducing their individual chance of predation, they are able to exhibit these behaviours at a greater rate, despite the fact that they increase conspicuousness and consequent predation risk. Individuals therefore position themselves in such a way that they can maximise these behaviours while keeping their individual predation risk to a minimum by sharing the risk with neighbours. Carrying out this project sparked my desire to begin a career in research, while a class I took in my final year at the University of Exeter, taught by Martin Stevens, ignited my interest in the field of sensory ecology.

 

 

 

Charlotte Jeffers

charlottejeffers1@hotmail.com

MSc by Research student

Centre for Ecology and Conservation, University of Exeter.

More About Charlotte

Supervisors: Martin Stevens (Primary), Regan Early

Working on the impact of coral bleaching on camouflage efficacy.

Current research:

The aims of my research are to examine whether coral bleaching, as a result of environmental change, impacts the efficacy of camouflage in species of reef-fish and reef predators.

Many species of fish have evolved well-matched or disruptive camouflage as a defence against being detected by predators. However, as sea temperatures increase and they are exposed to environmental stressors, coral eject their symbiotic dinoflagellates resulting in a loss of colour. As the corals bleach, the adaptive colouration of many fish species may become mismatched, theoretically making them more obvious and at risk of predation.

Despite the vast quantities of research in the areas of climate change and camouflage, there has been very little research examining how climate change will affect camouflage. My research aims to examine this, looking at how it impacts both prey and predator camouflage. I will be producing computer detection programmes and using human participants to compare camouflage efficacy against bleached and unbleached coral from the perspective of dichromatic and trichromatic visual systems.

Previous research:

I graduated from the University of Exeter in July 2017 with a BSc in Zoology. As an undergraduate, my final year research project examined causes and consequences of anogenital distance variation in meerkat pups. The research aimed to examine whether the length of anogenital distance was influenced by maternal effects, such as dominance status or weight, and whether individuals with longer anogenital distance, and therefore higher levels of testosterone exposure in utero, had increased weight and survival at 3 and 12 months of age.

My interest in sensory ecology first became apparent in my second year at the University of Exeter when studying biology of birds and learning about camouflage and mimicry. This interest was then further cemented in my third year whilst studying the sensory ecology module with Martin Stevens.

In the future, I hope to continue researching how environmental changes impact sensory systems and signalling.

 

 

 

Maria Watson

mw489@exeter.ac.uk

MSc by Research student

Centre for Ecology and Conservation, University of Exeter.

More About Maria

Supervisors: Tamara Galloway, Martin Stevens

Investigating how the ingestion of microplastics affects the anti-predator mechanisms of colour change for camouflage (background matching), and rapid movement in the marine crustacean Carcinus maenas.

Current research:

My research focuses on the anti-predator mechanisms used by the European green shore crab (Carcinus maenas) – and whether the ingestion of microplastics commonly found within the marine environment affect the speed and efficacy of anti-predatory behaviours. I aim to investigate this through a series of experiments – exposing individuals to microplastics administered through processed mussel feed, under standard conditions and in response to a model predator.

Carcinus maenas use consecutive carapace moults and behavioural colour change in order to achieve carapace colouration that reflects their environmental background, enabling them to appear camouflaged and reduce the likelihood of predation. As the early life-stage megalopa, Carcinus maenas primarily use rapid movement to evade predation – both of which likely incur high energetic costs.

Since the invention of synthetic polymers in 1907, there has been an exponential increase in the presence of plastics within the marine environment. It has been widely established that plastics affect marine fauna primarily through ingestion, which is known to adversely affect growth and reproduction through the reduction of available energy. Synthetic polymer densities and buoyancy also vary in accordance to their composition, often differing to that of sea water. So, when ingested these not only lead to a reduction in energy reserves, but may also alter species critical sinking densities. Thus, changing the individual’s buoyancy and potentially reduce predator avoidance.

Previous research:

I graduated from the University of Exeter in July 2017 having completed a BSc in Zoology with Honours. During my undergraduate degree I fortunate enough to help lead the research project ‘Mission Manu’ to the Peruvian Amazon. The aim of this project was to compare herptile survey methods (pitfall, visual encounter surveys on/off transect, and leaf litter surveys), in order to establish whether any biases exist and collate data on which are best suited to different scenarios. Carrying out this project so early on in my educational development ignited my passion for scientific research.

Under the supervision of Dr Matthew Witt, I went on to conduct my undergraduate research project on the spatial distribution of micro- and macroplastics in Cornish beach sediments. The aim of this research was to compare the 3-dimensional distribution of micro- and macroplastics across subtidal, intertidal, and hightide watermarks at depths of 0, 10, 25, and 50cm. This data was late collated to create basic models of plastic distribution based on form, colour, size, and location. Beach orientation, substrate, and proximity to combined sewer overflow outlets were also taken into consideration.

During my final year of undergraduate study, I took Professor Steven’s module in Sensory Ecology and was introduced to Professor Galloway’s work on plastic ecotoxicity. The combination of these fields peaked my interest in the widespread effects of plastic pollution in the marine environment, and how anthropogenically driven change might affect anti-predator behaviour in prey species.

 

 

Smile Choudhary

sc935@exeter.ac.uk

MSc by Research student

Centre for Ecology and Conservation, University of Exeter.

More About Smile

Supervisors: Martin Stevens (Primary), Tom Tregenza

Examining cross species comparisons of camouflage and anti-predator behaviour in crabs

Current research:

The focal point of my research is to compare the camouflage strategies adopted by different crab species (juvenile and adult) and their response to predators. Previous work shows a great variety in both colours and patterns across crab species with respect to sexual maturity and habitat types. Moreover, the carapace colour and pattern has been reported to disappear partly or fully with increasing size and age (ontogenetic changes). I am investigating how the camouflage strategies and ontogenetic changes are associated with morphology, habitat use, and life history of crabs.

I am conducting field and behavioural studies analysing how coloration and polymorphism varies according to age and size across multiple crab species in the UK, and if there are any behavioural traits (e.g. background choice and predator avoidance) which link to patterns of phenotype-environment matching and ontogenetic changes within and among species. In addition, predator vision models (fish, birds) are used to analyse the camouflage of mature and immature crabs at different locations.

This work aids in understanding how camouflage, behaviour, and life history are interlinked to age, habitat use and predation risk.

Previous research:

I did my undergraduate degree in BSc Life Sciences (Science) from the Panjab University, Chandigarh, India.

 

 

 

Are you interested in joining our group?

There are a number of opportunities in our lab, especially for work on camouflage in shore animals and other areas of anti-predator coloration. Please get in touch if you are interested.

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