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Research Fellows Directory

Martin How

Dr Martin How

Research Fellow


University of Bristol

Research summary

Animal vision is often very different from our own. As humans, we can become complacent about the level of visual information around us, assuming that what we see is all that there is. However, the more that we understand about animal vision, the more that we are forced to recognise the different ways that animals view their world. Stepping out of our own sensory realm to try to understand how different species sense their own environments represents an exciting challenge to science and is a field that I find deeply fascinating. My current research is focussed primarily on understanding how crustaceans and cephalopods detect and process the polarization of light. As humans, we cannot see the polarization of light (except for the rather esoteric phenomenon of Haidinger's brush). However, species from both of these invertebrate animal groups have an acute polarization sensitivity across the majority of the visual field, suggesting that they use this property of light in similar ways to our own colour vision. I also have current research projects in the field of animal signalling and camouflage, investigating the aposematic colour patterns of nudibranch sea slugs, and the motion dazzle effects of animal stripe patterns.

Grants awarded

Polarized light as an alternative to colour in animal vision

Scheme: University Research Fellowship

Dates: Jan 2016 - Dec 2020

Value: £503,785.15

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