Areas of expertise

Marine prey-predator visual interactions

The mesmerising hunting display of the broadclub cuttlefish

Watch this space for news!!!

Visual detection of a cryptic predator by its prey fish 

During my PhD I focussed on the visual interaction between a small marine fish, the yellow black-faced triplefin Tripterygion delaisi, and one of its common cryptic predators, the black scorpionfish Scorpaena porcus. The research approach first aimed at better understanding the visual perspective of a triplefin when facing its predator, and then behaviourally and theoretically testing a new form of active sensing in the context of this prey-predator interaction. My methods included large behavioural experiments in the field with SCUBA, underwater spectrometry, calibrated photography, visual modelling and advanced biostatistics. 

The role of eyes as a key trait for predator recognition

The well-defined, often circular, dark pupil of most animals makes the vertebrate eye difficult to hide. Eyes are indeed considered key features for face recognition of predators, prey or conspecifics. Among fish, mechanisms for pupil camouflage are widespread: Eye masks, skin flaps, eyeshine and pupillary closure are among the adaptions that can reduce pupil conspicuousness. This project aims at understanding the role of such adaptations in the context of predator detection by presenting 3D models of scorpionfish that feature different eye types and shapes to its prey fish. More to come!

Biostatistics - support with generalised linear mixed modelling

A versatile workflow for linear modelling in R

Current active collaborations involving data analysis include

Sexual selection in the black niger goby

In collaboration with Dr. Federica Poli from the Reproduction and Ecology of Fish Reproduction group of Prof. Maria Berica Rasotto in Padova, Italy.

Related publications:

Poli F., Marino I.A.M., Santon M., Bozzetta E., Pellizzato G., Zane L., Rasotto M.B. (2021) Spatial asymmetry of the paternity success in nests of a fish with alternative reproductive tactics. Scientific Reports 11, 3091.

Dental defects in anatomically modern humans

skull, human, head

In collaboration with Laura-Sophia Limmer, Dr. Sireen El Zaatari and Prof. Katerina Harvati from the Paleoanthropology institute of the University of Tuebingen.

Related publications:

Manuscript in preparation 

Visual ecology

A key aspect of my research approach is to consider the visual ecology of species of interests when investigating visual signals or other aspects related to animal behaviour. 

As trichromatic primates, our vision evolved to spot ripe fruits. However, other animals may perceive the world very differently…

In terms of colour perception

But also in relation to the ability to resolve static details in an image

 The way we see fish is quite different from the way they see themselves

Also, their colour patterns and behaviours might have evolved on very small scales that we rarely witness 

Future directions

I am looking for a future occupation, and I am always excited to hear about new possibilities!

error: Copyrights: Matteo Santon