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Motion vision in sharks and their teleost prey
My project focuses on the ability of sharks to detect motion visually. Specifically to identify relevant environmental cues and to look into relationships between sharks vision, their environment and their teleost prey.
The visual system of sharks has received some attention. However, motion vision has been overlooked. Visual perception is composed of colour, depth, form and motion. To understand how sharks perceive the world motion vision requires further attention. It is important to understand shark perception, so that negative interactions between humans and sharks may be understood and reduced. Negative interactions not only include attacks on humans by sharks but also problems of shark bycatch. This study is the first to identify the sensitivity of a range of sharks to detect visual motion using a multidisciplinary approach. The motion sensitivity of sharks can be related to the relevant motion cues in their environment.
Sharks have survived for over 400 million years. They are the model for which the modern vertebrate visual system arose, and there is much to learn from them. They also play an important part in the environment; they are apex predators on which other animals rely. With declines in shark populations, understanding shark perception may be key to their survival.
This study will increase knowledge on the design of shark visual systems, further the understanding of how the shark visual system evolved and its purpose, as well as potentially manipulating shark visual capabilities to design visual deterrents.