Ilse Daly – Ecology of Vision

Name: Ilse Daly

Location: Bristol, UK


What do you do?

I’m part of the Ecology of Vision lab, and as such I investigate how animals see the world. As a lab we’re particularly interested in polarization vision, but any aspect of vision will do!

My PhD focused on the bizarre eyes of mantis shrimp, a distant relative of the lobster. Their visual system is unique and elaborate to say the least; they have up to 12 colour channels (we have 3), and are able to perceive both linear and circular polarization. Their compound eyes move independently of one another and are in near-constant motion, giving them an air of quizzical independence quite unexpected in a crustacean…
For those who are unfamiliar with, or would like to know more about polarization, this site gives a brilliant introduction to the topic.

What can you see?

I’m based in at the University of Bristol, but fortunately mantis shrimp live in pretty nice, warm places like the Great Barrier reef and Spain, which is where this picture of our Squilla mantis tank was taken.

If I’m being honest, my view is predominantly of MATLAB (a programme for interpreting data) on a computer screen, but interspersed with plenty of interesting views of mantis shrimp in all their wonderful colours and of amazing tropical scenery. Can’t really complain!

When I’m not doing science I… ride my horse, play with my dogs and sleep.