Dr Thomas Neil
- Sensory Ecology
Research AssociateSchool of Biological Sciences
My research focuses on bioacoustics, in particular the interactions of bats and moths. Whilst visual camouflage is a much studied and prevalent phenomenon, for acoustics, camouflage is far less intuitive.
Predation pressure by bats has driven the evolution of a host of defences in nocturnal moths. An emerging field in this area is biosonar camouflage, in which naturally occurring mechanisms act to reduce the echo reflectivity of the moths, making them harder to detect by the biosonar of bats. The scales of moth wings are a key component of this potential defence, and offer a rich range of potential ultrasonic diffraction mechanisms to create biosonar camouflage.
I am working to characterise the echo reflectivity of moths and understand exactly how the complex lattice of scales on the wings of moths might act to absorb sound energy. It is hoped that a greater understanding of these sub-wavelength mechanisms will have considerable impact in the fields of noise control systems and the development of ultra-thin dynamic sound absorbers.
Sound Communication in Insects
- Chapter in a book
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Journal of the Royal Society Interface