Manipulating polarisation for a better view


Wow, haven’t I been ignoring this blog for a while?!

I have had quite a busy year, and unfortunately blogging took a back seat for a while. In the summer I successfully submitted and defended my PhD thesis, meaning I am now the proud owner of the title Doctor. I’m still working on getting people to refer to me as ‘The Doctor’, but I will get there.

After finalising my PhD thesis I immediately started my first job as a post doc, which is where I am now, working at the University of Bristol. My research has shifted away from underwater beasties for now, at the moment I study the bioacoustics of bats and moths. More specifically, how moths might camouflage themselves acoustically from the ultrasonic echolocation calls of bats.

But enough of that, this is a place for the sub-aquatic right??

As if mantis shrimp weren’t already cool enough, what with having the fastest punches in the animal kingdom and all, now it turns out they have crazy eyeballs as well. You may well be familiar with the unusual gaze of mantis shrimp, a pair of eyes containing multiple pupil looking things, twisting and rotating on a pair of stalks. Well, it turns out there is purpose to this madness, with the shrimp preferentially choosing to rotate their eyes in order to maximise the polarisation contrast between an object of interest and its background.

This research was actually undertaken at my new(-ish) place of work, the University of Bristol. Below is a short informative video explaining the phenomen from the guys over at Biosphere.

Very cool and a good way to get back into the swing of thing s I think, hopefully this is start of this blog picking up again, hurrah!