The biennial conference of the International Society for Behavioral Ecology brings together researchers from all aspects of behavioural ecology. This year the 15th International Behavioral Ecology Congress will be hosted by the City University of New York in late July / early August. Our graduate students Jim and László, with Anna Hughes (a graduate student from the University of Cambridge); will host a 2 hour symposium into camouflage mechanisms, focusing on how collaborations between different scientific disciplines have led to new ways of understanding animal colouration.
31st July – 5th August 2014
City University of New York & New York University
New York City
Camouflage: new insights from interdisciplinary collaborations
At the turn of the 20th Century, Abbott H. Thayer, the 'father of camouflage' argued that "naturalists have not understood the principles of objects’ distinguishability" and claimed that understanding animal camouflage was the territory of "pictorial art" rather than zoology. Contrary to Thayer's assertions, 105 years later, zoologists are pivotal to modern camouflage research, but the study of concealment has been taken up by a diverse audience, including psychologists, engineers and computer scientists.
The last 10 years have seen a renaissance in the study of camouflage as new techniques – often borrowed from different disciplines – have been implemented. In the last few years collaborative, interdisciplinary investigation of animal colouration has begun to mature. We argue that collaborations with various fields, including perceptual psychology and image processing, in the context of natural observers and lighting conditions, can greatly enhance studies into animal concealment. We aim to encourage this notion with speakers from an interdisciplinary background, presenting studies which have branched beyond conventional methods used in animal behaviour and offer insight into how these methods could be applied to a wider range of biological research. To emphasise novel ideas and approaches, we would like this symposium to be organised and presented by early career researchers.