My PhD focuses on the colour pattern known as countershading and how it may function as a form of camouflage in fish. We are especially interested in how the pattern itself changes between species and the environments in which they are found.
In the majority of pelagic environments there is almost no cover for animals, so it is through clever colour-based strategies and behaviours that species are able to increase their survival. These colour patterns are made even more fascinating when considering that these animals must account for the wide variety of predator visual systems they encounter.
Throughout my BSc Hons in Zoology and my Masters of Science degree in Animal Behaviour, my passion has always remained with the field of behavioural ecology, throughout the animal world. My undergraduate thesis focused on colour preferences in different species of captive small primates, where I found that each of the species I studied preferred colours matching fruits found in their natural habitats. My MSc thesis took me to Tenerife to study the effects of eco-tourism (e.g. whale-watching) on short-finned pilot whale behaviour. In between I have worked on a basking shark tracking project off the west coast of Scotland, volunteered with a golden eagle reintroduction project on the Isle of Mull, and completed a behavioural research internship at the Smithsonian National Zoo working on the behavioural enrichment of cuttlefish and giant Pacific hermit crabs.