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Research projects

Central to all these projects is a fascination for the remarkable ways that eyes and vision have evolved to adapt animals to a wide variety of habitats and lifestyles. Basic research is conducted as well as research that result in spin-offs into technology and medicine.

Animal colour vision

Bird visual ecology

Collision avoidance in dynamic environments

The main purpose of this project is to develop an understanding of how animals such as bees and fish control their motion and avoid obstacles in dynamic environments.

Development of vertebrate eyes

Just as any other organ system, the visual systems develops from feeble beginnings. We study how its components are tuned to each other and to the animals' visual needs, which may change dramatically during the life-cycle of a species.

Digital image processing in dim light

The optical and neural principles that have evolved for maximising visual reliability in dim light have direct technological applications. In this project we have developed a computer algorithm that drastically improves the reliability of video sequences collected in very dim light.

Flight control in complex environments

The main purpose of this study is to understand how flying insects control their flight and navigate in complex and unpredictable natural environments such as tropical rainforests.

Magnetic compass orientation and polarized light sensitivity in birds

Insects are well known to use information from the Earth’s magnetic field for orientation. We investigate whether bumblebees can be trained to use directional magnetic cues to find a food reward.

Magnetic compass orientation in insects

The goals of this project are to unravel the mysteries of the magnetic compass and polarized light sense in birds. We train zebra finches to locate a hidden food source with the help of directional magnetic field and/or polarized light cues to examine the behavioural and physiological mechanisms of the two senses.

Multifocal optics for clear color vision

Creating well-focused color image is far from trivial and technical solutions involve complex combinations of lenses. Nature can do the same with a single, powerful lens.

Path-integration in a desert beetle

Desert dung beetles continually calculate the distance and direction they will have to walk home to return to their nest. How do they get this information, and where is it processed in the brain? And why do some of these beetles walk in a unique "gallop" unlike any other insect on the planet?

Polarized light orientation in dim light

Seeing after dark

Many nocturnal animals have exquisite nocturnal vision. In this project we are measuring nocturnal visual performance and investigating the neural strategies used to see well in dim light.

Seeing in the deep

Deep-sea animals live in a dark and often visually predictable world. In this project we are investigating the eye designs of deep-sea animals in relation to habitat and lifestyle.

Sky compass orientation

The evolution of vision

The metabolic cost of seeing at night and during the day

The photoreceptors of nocturnal and diurnal insects are adapted differently for vision at light levels that differ by around 100 million times. In this project we are studying the metabolic cost of vision in different species of closely related nocturnal and diurnal dung beetles, with the aim of determining whether the cost of vision (as measured in molecules of ATP consumed per bit of information produced) is intrinsically greater in nocturnal species than in diurnal species.

The neural basis of vision in dim light

The ability of nocturnal insects to see well in dim light is likely due to a neural summation of photons in space and time. In this project we are investigating the neural circuits responsible for this summation in the optic lobes of nocturnal hawkmoths and bees.

The neuroecology of the insect central complex

The central complex is a small region of the insect central brain that is responsible for spatial orientation and compass navigation. In this project we are studying how the properties of central complex neurons are matched to the lifestyles and ecologies of a wide variety of different insect species.

The neuronal substrate of compass orientation

In this project we are aiming to understand how sky compass signals are processed in the tiny brain of insects and how these signals are transformed into an orientation behavior. Can we find differences in the neural mechanisms between closely related nocturnal and diurnal navigators?

The sensory basis of long distance migration in Bogong moths

The Australian Bogong moth makes a spectacular annual migration from south-eastern Queensland to southern New South Wales, covering a distance of up to 1000 km. In this project we are attempting to understand how these moths – despite having never made this journey before – are able to find their destination, and then a few months later return to their birthplace.

Visual control of landing

Visual ecology of flower-visiting insects

Flower-visiting insects are good models to study the use of visual information in a larger context. We use bees, moths and butterflies as model species to study sensory ecology. Flower-visitors express innate preferences for flower features such as odour, shape and colour, and have good learning abilities.

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Diurnal butterfly

Are you interested in available Bachelor or Masters projects, PhD studies or a postdoc position? Contact any one of the senior scientists in the group!

Our work is generously funded by the Swedish Research Council, the Royal Physiographic Society of Lund, the Crafoord Foundation, the Wallenberg Foundation, Tryggers Foundation and Wenner-Gren Foundation.