Dr Nicholas Roberts
Dr Nicholas Roberts
University of Bristol,
(See a map)
Detection of light and colour in nature
I gained my first degree, an MPhys in Physics and Astrophysics, in 1999 at the University of Manchester. I stayed on in Manchester and completed a PhD in the Liquid Crystal Physics Group with Prof Helen Gleeson in 2003. The focus of my work was on optical studies of model biological liquid crystal systems relating to vertebrate photoreceptors. During my PhD, I conducted much of my biological research at University of Victoria, BC, Canada. After a year as a post-doc back in Manchester, I was awarded a Leverhulme Trust Early Career fellowship to conduct research on vertebrate polarization vision. In 2006, I was awarded an EPSRC Life Science Interface fellowship to work on optical design in vertebrate and invertebrate visual systems, splitting my time between the new Photon Science Institute at Manchester and Queens University in Canada. In Oct 2009, I started a 5 year BBSRC David Philips Fellowship based in the Ecology of Vision Group here at Bristol.
My research is focused on investigating optical mechanisms that underlie sensory abilities such as polarization vision and the evolution of the bio-optics of signaling and photoreception.
My work adopts a broad intra- and inter-disciplinary approach, using a combination of physics based techniques (microspectrophotometry, laser tweezing, optical modelling and X-ray scattering) and behavioural studies (operant conditioning and novel optomotor techniques). Ultimately, I want to understand how visual information helps guide aspects of animal behaviour.
polarisation vision, bio-optics, neuroethology
- Polarization vision.
- Vision in the deep sea – how photoreceptors work under pressure.
- The physiological optics of rods and cones.
- Animals that manipulate polarized light.
- The evolution of silver reflectors.
- The evolution of polarization signals.
- Optics of oil droplets.
James Foster, Thomas Jordan, Juliette McGregor, Milly Sharkey, Shelby Temple, David Wilby
Techniques in routine use
behavioural techniques, microspectrophotometry, laser tweezing, optical modelling, X-ray scattering
Equipment in routine use
microspectrophotometer, digital holographic microscope, polarization video displays, polarization video camera
Prof Thomas Cronin (UMBC), Prof Justin Marshall (Uni Queensland), Prof Joe Corbo (WUSTL), Prof Almut Kelber (Lund)
- Roberts, N, T-S, C, N.J., M & T.W., C 2009, A biological quarter-wave retarder with excellent achromaticity in the visible wavelength region. Nature Photonics, vol 3., pp. 641 - 644
- Temple, S, Pignatelli, V, Cook, T, How, M, Chiou, T, Roberts, N & Marshall, N 2012, High-resolution polarisation vision in a cuttlefish. Current Biology, vol 22., pp. R121 - R122
- Yallop, ML, Anesio, AMB, Perkins, RG, Cook, J, Telling, JP, Fagan, DT, MacFarlane, JW, Stibal, M, Barker, GLA, Bellas, CM, Hodson, A, Tranter, M, Wadham, JL & Roberts, NW 2012, Photophysiology and albedo-changing potential of the ice algal community on the surface of the Greenland ice sheet. ISME Journal, vol 6., pp. 2302?2313
- Jordan, TM, Roberts, NW & Partridge, JC 2012, An omnidirectional broadband mirror design inspired by biological multilayer reflectors. in: A Lakhtakia, RJ MartinPalma (eds) BIOINSPIRATION, BIOMIMETICS, AND BIOREPLICATION 2012. SPIE-INT SOC OPTICAL ENGINEERING, BELLINGHAM, pp. -
- Jordan, TM, Partridge, JC & Roberts, NW 2012, Non-polarizing broadband multilayer reflectors in fish. Nature Photonics.
- Roberts, NW, Marshall, NJ & Cronin, TW 2012, High levels of reflectivity and pointillist structural color in fish, cephalopods, and beetles. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.
- Talbot, C, Jordan, TM, Roberts, NW, Collin, SP, Marshall, NJ & Temple, SE 2012, Corneal microprojections in coleoid cephalopods. Journal of Comparative Physiology A.
- Roberts, N, Porter, M & Cronin, T 2011, The molecular basis of mechanisms underlying polarization vision. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, vol 366., pp. 627 - 637
- Pignatelli, V, Temple, S, Chiou, T, Roberts, N, Collin, S & Marshall, N 2011, Behavioural relevance of polarization sensitivity as a target detection mechanism in cephalopods and fishes. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, vol 366., pp. 734 - 741
- Görtz, V, Southern, C, Roberts, N, Gleeson, H & Goodby, J 2009, Unusual properties of a bent-core liquid-crystalline fluid. Soft Matter, vol 5., pp. 463 - 471
Full publications list in the University of Bristol publications system