It is widely accepted that the ability to gather accurate information about the surrounding environment is critical for an animal’s survival. However, for most animals (including humans) the type and amount of sensory information required is poorly understood.
Moreover, sensory abilities vary greatly across the animal kingdom, both in terms of the receptors and ancillary structures that are used to detect external stimuli, and the degree to which the information they provide is processed by the nervous system.
Using a comparative approach, our researchers investigate the functional neural adaptations of different animals to their particular lifestyle and habitat; this is the field of neuroecology. Major research themes of the Neurobiology lab are:
- Sensory perception
- Information processing
- Ecological adaptation
Based at Macquarie University in Sydney, the laboratory possesses a range of cutting edge instrumentation for neuroscience research, including a microspectrophotometer (MSP), spectrophotometer, and electrophysiology rigs for recording evoked potentials (ERG, EEG) and single unit responses (extracellular, patch clamp).
Current projects include:
- The molecular basis of brain lateralisation in birds (funded by the Australian Research Council Discovery Project scheme)
- Sensory biology of elasmobranchs (sharks and rays), bony fishes, reptiles and birds
- Development of non-lethal shark deterrent technologies (funded by the Australian Research Council Linkage Scheme)
- Testing of shark deterrent technologies (funded by the NSW Department of Primary Industries Shark Management Strategy)