Professor Tim Caro
I study the evolution of animal coloration in particular mammals. I am also interested in trying to solve conservatiion problems in the tropics, particularly in Africa.
ProfessorSchool of Biological Sciences
I am interested the adaptive significance of coloration in mammals and I use comparative phylogenetic methods, simple field experiments and sophisticated photographic methodology to understand the evolution of coloration in this group. I am writing a book applying recent breakthroughs in animal coloration to explaining the ecology, genetic architecture and evolution of coloration in mammals. My key achievements are discovering why zebras have stripes, why giant pandas are black and white, why carnivores are camouflaged and warningly coloured, making systematic generalizations about the functions of coloration in ungulates and primates, and giving historical perspectives.
I also work in Tanzania on conservation and basic science issues. Currently I am investigating the colour polymorphism of the coconut crab, the world's largest terrestrial crab, and trying to find ways to protect it. I collaborate on large scale national conservation strategies in Tanzania and Zanzibar.
I study the evolution and ecology of animal coloration focusing particularly on mammals and decapods. I conduct fieldwork in Tanzania and UK on zebras and horses, on coconut crabs on the Zanzibar archipelago, and on crabs and anemones in UK. My work is highly collaborative involving phylogenetic macroevolutionary comparative studies, simple field experiments, and state-of-the-art photographic techniques to test classic hypotheses about coloration of often charismatic conspicuous species.
I am also interested conservation strategies used to sustain intact tropical ecosystems, and , more practically, I work in collaboration with Tanzanian authoriies on a number of conservation projects in that highly biodiverse country.
Sensory Ecology of Disease Vectors
- Chapter in a book
- Accepted/In press
I teach Y3 'The Biology of Colour' with Martin How in which we try to convey up-to-date knowledge about the functional significance, mechanisms and ways of measuring coloration in animals and plants.