Research Seminar: Professor Roger Hanlon - Marine Biological Laboratory

31 January 2022, 1.00 PM - 31 January 2022, 2.00 PM

Professor Roger Hanlon hosted by Dr Martin How

Zoom (internal only)


Rapid adaptive camouflage and signalling in cephalopods


Cephalopods go about camouflage in a different manner. They have the fastest colour change known due to direct neural control of skin colour, pattern, and 3-D texture. How and why have they evolved such a diverse and sophisticated system for changing their appearance? Taking a sensory ecology approach, I will illustrate with field video and laboratory experiments how this sensorimotor system operates. I will briefly review the sensory capabilities of cephalopods, then focus first on visual perception of natural backgrounds by cuttlefish to guide dynamic camouflage, which can be implemented in less than one second even in complex visual environments like coral reefs. I will briefly describe how the CNS transcribes sensory input into motor output that produces appropriate body patterns for camouflage and communication. Thereafter, emphasis will be on neurophysiology of skin chromatophores and iridophores. Finally, I will show recent progress in the development of bio-inspired materials and engineering that produce rapid colour pattern change for various applications.


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