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Marie Dacke

Senior Lecturer | Associate Professor

After a fascinating time as a postdoctoral fellow at the Australian National University in Canberra, I came back to the Lund Vision Group in spring 2007, where I am now a lecturer. Throughout my career I have been developing behavioural methods for measuring the visual performance of organisms as diverse as insects, fish spiders and humans. These methods make it possible to quantitatively measure the behavioural responses to visual stimuli, and then infer the underlying neural mechanisms that are responsible. The aim of many of my research projects is to explore the visual design and the neuronal basis behind safe navigation systems active on land, in air and in water.

One of my current research projects focuses on nocturnal and diurnal navigational systems. I study these with great admiration for the capabilities of my model animals - all with a brain volume smaller than the size of a rice grain - as I myself totally lack any sense of direction. Neither can I see the polarized light that guides these animals on their journeys.

My frustration at not being able to experience all the sensory realms that Nature has to offer is a driving force behind much of my research. Even if these sensations will always remain beyond my own experience, it is rewarding to try and gain insight into the sensory worlds that are obvious to so many other creatures. It is a stunning feeling to unravel mechanisms that underpin behaviours that previously seemed to be based on a strange “sixth sense”, or to realise that mechanisms, which at first glance seem perfectly inadequate, instead provide brilliant solutions to difficult biological problems.

I also have a keen interest for the education of the general public and among other things act as a panel member of the nature show “Studio Natur” and direct and perform in the Lund University Biology Show. I also enjoy putting together short presentations in the form of 3 – 8 minute long Sience slams (some example can be viewed in downloads and links).

Publications

Retrieved from Lund University's publications database

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