Martin J How, University of Bristol
Polarised light and the visual ecology of marine invertebrates
Vision underwater differs in many important ways from our familiar terrestrial environment. For example, veiling light scattered from suspended particles in water has a strong effect on visibility, certain wavelengths of light are absorbed quickly with depth, and celestial cues are compressed into a small region known as Snell's window due to diffraction at the water's surface. For these reasons (and others), vision in the marine environment has been subject to different evolutionary pressures to that on land, and marine organisms show different adaptations as a result. A particular area of interest for my research is how animals use polarised light underwater. Recently I have focused on the high-acuity polarisation vision systems of crustaceans (particularly fiddler crabs and mantis shrimps) and cephalopods. In this talk I will also touch on research in to colour vision, as well as the design of body patterns for signalling and camouflage.