“The colours of many animals seem adapted to their purposes of concealing themselves, either to avoid danger, or to spring upon their prey.” Darwin, E. (1794) Zoonomia, http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/15707; p.509.
Writing some 15 years before his grandson Charles was even born, Erasmus Darwin was using animal camouflage to illustrate apparent design in nature. However, it is only now, over two centuries later, that we are starting to really understand how different forms of animal defensive coloration -- camouflage, warning signals, mimicry, startle displays -- work. For example, camouflage is not merely about being the same colour as the background, it is really an adaption to the perception and cognition of the species being deceived. As a result, most of my work is strongly interdisciplinary, collaborating closely with perceptual psychologists and computational neuroscientists to develop and tests models of animal colour vision and animal coloration. My students' research typically involves fieldwork, lab experiments, computational modelling, and the species studied range from insects to birds, fish to frogs, and mammals including humans. I encourage all my research students to adopt multiple approaches and learn diverse techniques, as a broad interdisciplinary training is not only a boost to employability, it is often the best way to solve problems in science. If you are interested in explaining animals look and behave the way they do, contact me to discuss possible research projects.
MSc by Research (MScR) is a 1-year research degree that provides intensive training and a preparation for PhD study. You will carry out your studies as part of your research group – like a PhD student does. Towards the end of the year, you write up a thesis on your research and are examined on this. This degree suits students wanting to gain maximum research experience in preparation for PhD applications.
We are keen to recruit a diverse range of students and to ensure our research is open to all. We particularly welcome applications from groups traditionally under-represented in life sciences research. Please check the University webpages for the current tuition fee information. Most MScR projects also require a bench fee. This varies depending on the research and your project supervisor can tell you the bench fee for the project.
Please contact Prof Innes Cutill (I.Cuthill@bristol.ac.uk) directly for information about the project.
How to apply:
Use the following link to apply: Start your application | Study at Bristol | University of Bristol
You should apply to the Faculty of Life Sciences, School of Biological Sciences selecting the programme Biological Sciences - MSc by Research.
Please ensure you upload all supporting documents as per the admissions statement (which applies to both PhD and MScR programmes): PhD Biological Sciences | Study at Bristol | University of Bristol
Clearly indicate the supervisor name and project title in the relevant section of the application form.
The system will not allow you to submit your application without uploading a document to the research statement section. Where this is an optional requirement, please upload a blank Word document which is headed “No research statement required”.
Applications are accepted all year round. However, the preferred entry points for study are September / January / April / July.