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The impact of sensory pollution on fish navigation.


Project Description

All animals use senses to gather information. However, sensory systems are not perfect and cannot always detect a clear signal. Interfering external sources can cause ‘sensory pollution’ thereby interrupting normal behaviour. Vision in reef fish presents an extreme example: water visibility can fluctuate rapidly, limiting distances at which objects can be detected. How fish assess their environment in variable conditions is poorly understood, but is important to our understanding of how animals adapt to changing environments. Our research group will investigate the effects of sensory pollution on fish behaviour and determine how resilient animals are to natural and human-induced sensory pollution. The results of this project are important both from a conservation perspective, as navigation is a fundamental behaviour that underpins many other activities (i.e. foraging, mate selection, predator avoidance), as well as a mechanistic perspective as we will determine how the navigation systems works when sensory information becomes unreliable.

This project will require both laboratory and field animal behaviour studies. We are looking for a student who would focus on the field portion of this research. This work will involve tracking the movement trajectories of fish on coral reefs using a camera system that the student must continue to develop. The ideal candidate must have some experience with programming and motivation to continue to develop this skill. It is also important that the student can swim and either has diving experience or is willing to learn. Field work is conducted in remote locations and can be physically demanding.

The successful student will be co-supervised by Prof Theresa Burt de Perera and Dr Cait Newport.

Please contact Dr Cait Newport in the first instance on .

Application procedure details at: https://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/graduate/courses/dphil-zoology?wssl=1. The application deadline is Friday 24th January 2020.

Funding Notes

Funding is competitive, via either University/Departmental Studentships or Doctoral Training Centres (View Website).

How good is research at University of Oxford in Biological Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 223.80

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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