Special Seminar: Avian vision and the evolution of adaptive coloration: insights from sensory ecology
Birds are endowed with a sophisticated visual system that allows them to experience the world in ways humans cannot. How does a bird's visual experience influence its behavior and evolution? I use a multidisciplinary approach – incorporating tools from computer science, engineering and genomics – to investigate the evolution of avian coloration. My research combines detailed studies in museum collections with work in the lab and field. From a mechanistic perspective, I am interested in understanding how sensory systems work and how colors are produced. From a functional perspective, my goal is to analyze the diversity of colorful signals and the adaptive advantages they convey. In this talk, I will show how taking a "bird's-eye view" reveals surprising insights into the sensory world of birds, using examples from plumage evolution, egg mimicry and camouflage. In addition, I will discuss a new project on the evolution and bioengineering of avian eggs.
Host: Professor Elizabeth Tibbetts