Welcome to ICN 2018!

Local Organising Committee

  • Chair – ICN 2018 Professor Justin Marshall

    Sensory Neurobiology
    Queensland Brain Institute (QBI)
    University of Queensland (UQ), Australia

    My principle aim is to understand how other animals perceive their environment. As arrogant humans we tend to assume we are the pinnacle of evolution, however, certainly in sensory terms this is far from true. By taking an approach to sensory systems which is based around ecology but also includes physiology, physics, anatomy, behaviour and neural integration, I hope to decode languages such as colour and polarisation. View more.

    Much of my work focusses on the marine environment, in particular reef systems and the deep-sea. As part of this effort I have become acutely aware of man’s influence on both these environments and set up CoralWatch, a citizen science and education outreach program 12 years ago. My six main research streams are: Visual ecology and comparative visual systems in reef and rainforest. Vision in stomatopod (mantis shrimp) – the world’s most complex visual system. Reef fish vision – the evolution and diversity of colour vision. Cephalopod vision and behaviour - complex visual capability in invertebrates. The Deep Australia Project – unlocking the sensory systems of the abyss. Coral Watch – using colour to save the reef.

  • Professor Mandayam V. Srinivasan

    Visual and Sensory Neuroscience
    Queensland Brain Institute (QBI)
    University of Queensland (UQ), Australia

    Mandyam (Srini) Srinivasan is interested in understanding the visual guidance of flight in bees and birds, and in applying biologically inspired principles to the design of guidance systems for aerial vehicles.

  • Dr Darrell Kemp

    Department of Biological Sciences
    Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia

    I conduct curiosity-driven research at the whole-organism level to test adaptive hypotheses about visual signalling. Enduring interest lies in colours arising from surface structures, often described as iridescent, metallic, glossy or otherwise visually striking. My group has explored the mechanistic and quantitative basis of variation in these signals, as well as how they are used in communication and respond under varied selective regimes. We have used butterflies, true bugs, lizards and guppies as study models. Our work traverses field and laboratory settings with the goal of linking mechanistic and genetic variation to adaptation in the wild.

  • Professor Alison Mercer

    Head of Department
    Department of Zoology
    University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

    Alison Mercer is Professor in the Department of Zoology at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand. She works on honey bees, examining the role of dopamine in associative olfactory learning and the impact of Varroa and its associated viruses on stress reactivity in bees.

  • Professor Jochen Zeil

    Ecological neuroscience
    Australian National University (ANU)

    I am interested in ecological neuroscience: trying to understand the challenges of visual information processing that animals face under natural, evolution-relevant conditions. I did my PhD on Sexual Dimorphism in the Visual System of Flies at the University of Sussex, England with Mike Land and at the University of Tübingen, Germany, with Dezsö Varjú. I subsequently spent 15 years as an academic nomad in Germany, Australia and Kuwait before joining the Visual Sciences Group at the Australian National University in 1995. I currently focus on understanding visual navigation in ants and wasps, in particular helping to develop the tools that allow us to quantify the navigational information available to animals.

  • Professor Shaun P. Collin

    WA Premiers Research Fellow
    The University of Western Australia

    Shaun heads a large Neuroecology Group that investigates the neural basis of behaviour in both invertebrates and vertebrates, with special emphasis on sensory systems and vision. Before joining UWA from The University of Queensland, where he was a Professor within the School of Biomedical Sciences for 10 years, he spent appreciable periods of time in Canada, the United States, Germany and Australia on a range of prestigious Research Fellowships (ARC QEII, Fulbright, Alexander von Humboldt, Grass). View more.

    Using a range of cutting edge techniques, his Group investigates the impacts of environmental cues (light, odors, sound and electrical fields) on biodiversity, sustainability and health in a large diversity of aquatic animals. Prof. Collin has published over 240 scientific papers, including 6 books, and sits on the Editorial Boards of 5 international journals. He has previously chaired the Biological Sciences and Biotechnology panel on the College of Experts for the Australian Research Council (ARC) and is currently a member of the Technology and Innovation Advisory Council (TIAC) for the WA State Government.

  • Dr Andy Barron

    Cognitive Neuroethology
    Department of Biological Sciences
    Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia

    I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Macquarie University. With my team at Macquarie we are exploring the neurobiology of major behavioural systems such as memory, goal-directed behaviour and stress from a comparative and evolutionary perspective. In 2015 I was awarded an ARC Future Fellowship to develop a computational model of the honey bee brain. View more.

    My PhD (Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge 1999) considered the possibility of the retention of memory through metamorphosis in Drosophila. Prior to my move to Macquarie in 2007 I had the opportunity to work with and be mentored by Prof. Ben Oldroyd (University of Sydney), Prof. Gene Robinson (University of Illinois), Prof. Mandayam Srinivasan and Prof. Ryszard Maleszka (Australian National University).

  • Professor Andy Bennett

    Centre for Integrative Ecology
    Deakin University, Melbourne and Geelong, Australia

    Andy Bennett takes an integrative approach to behaviour, ecology and cognition and leads a lab that investigates two sensory ecological puzzles. The first aims to determine the proximate and ultimate causes of plumage colour variation in parrots (this work spans vision, olfaction, acoustics, genetics and disease). The second seeks to determine how waterbirds can find highly unpredictable water in arid Australia (this involves satellite tracking and ecophysiology). After honours on bird pollination at University of Adelaide, Andy did a D.Phil. on avian navigation at Oxford Zoology with John Krebs. View more.

    He then went to University of Bristol, becoming Reader in Sensory and Behavioural Ecology; at this time he worked mainly on bird vision and coloration. He returned to Australia in 2008 to be Head of the School of Life and Environmental Sciences at Deakin where he established the Centre for Integrative Ecology. He is President of the Australasian Society for the Study of Animal Behaviour, Fellow of the International Ornithological Union and has held fellowships from the Leverhulme Foundation, the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, and Wiener-Anspach foundation amongst other awards; he is funded by the Australian Research Council.

  • Professor John Montgomery

    Marine Science
    The University of Auckland, New Zealand

    John is Professor of Marine Science and Principal Investigator in the Centre for Brain Research. His main research interest is in the sensory neuroethology of fish, in particular flow sensing and the electrosense of sharks and rays. CNS processing of these senses involves a cerebellum-like hindbrain adaptive filter that cancels self-generated noise by creating a forward model of sensory reafference. This adaptive filter forms the morphological and physiological template for the evolution of the cerebellum.

  • Dr Paul Cunningham

    Research Leader
    Agriculture Victoria Research (Victorian Government) Melbourne, Australia

    I am the Research Leader for the Invertebrate and Weed Sciences group, at Agriculture Victoria Research (Victorian Government). My team studies new ways to control Australian horticultural pests by applying fundamental knowledge in insect chemical ecology (e.g. to develop new insect attractants), molecular biology (e.g. for new insect diagnostic tools), and insect ecology (e.g. insect biocontrol agents). My own research expertise is in host selection behaviour of herbivorous insects, and particularly insect olfaction. I am based at the AgriBio Centre in Melbourne, a joint research initiative of the Victorian Government and La Trobe University.

  • Dr Ximena Nelson

    School of Biological Sciences
    University of Canterbury

    Ximena is Associate Professor at the University of Canterbury, in New Zealand. Ximena’s research interests include neuroethology, visual neurophysiology, decision-making, predator-prey interactions, and cognition. Her primary area of work is on the neural underpinning of visually-based behaviour in jumping spiders - but she also likes working on kea, the 'clever' mountain parrots of New Zealand, due to her interest in mountains and skiing. She was a pioneer of the use of 3D animation as a method to test vision-based decision-making and her current work focuses on the mechanisms used by jumping spiders to achieve their astounding behavioural and visual feats.

  • Dr. Fabio Cortesi,

    Swiss National Science Foundation Fellow
    Queensland Brain Institute (QBI)
    University of Queensland (UQ), Australia

    As an evolutionary biologist dabbling in neuroethology, I’m interested in the forces, from molecule to environment, which shape biodiversity in nature. Focusing mainly on the evolution of visual systems in fish, I’m trying to understand how other animals perceive the world, how this contributes to the formation of colours and patterns and how this can lead to species diversity. To understand how vision is shaping single species and whole communities, I’m using a variety of methods including NGS molecular approaches coupled with transgenesis experiments, neurophysiological assessments of visual systems and behavioural experimentation. View more.

    And else?
    I love to travel the world, experience new cultures and learn about other people’s ways of life. I m an avid surfer and scuba diver and as I grew up in the middle of it, can’t be without the occasional snowboarding trip…

  • Dr Karen Cheney

    School of Biological Sciences
    University of Queensland (UQ), Australia

    I am interested in the evolution of animal colour patterns, what they are used for and how they are perceived. I do this using a variety of techniques, including behavioural experiments, spectrophotometry, theoretical visual modelling, and colour pattern measurements. I focus my research on marine fish and invertebrates, including brightly coloured nudibranch molluscs. I also investigate how chemical defences are related to nudibranch colour patterns.


  • Dr Fanny De Busserolles

    Postdoctoral Research Fellow
    Queensland Brain Institute
    University of Queensland (UQ), Australia

    I am a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Marshall Laboratory at the University of Queensland. My main research interests lay in visual ecology, sensory systems, and marine biology and diversity. By using a multidisciplinary approach involving neurobiology, phylogeny and ecology, I aim to better understand fish visual adaptations in relation to their environment and evolutionary history. I am particularly fascinated by the deep-sea environment and how its inhabitants have adapted to see in dim light conditions and for viewing bioluminescence. My current work in the Marshall’s lab, also takes me to the reef to study holocentrids (squirrelfish and soldierfish), a family of conspicuous nocturnal reef fishes that are connected to the deep-sea.

  • Dr. Miriam J. Henze

    Queensland Brain Institute
    University of Queensland (UQ), Australia

    Advanced eyes are major innovations in animal evolution, and have both fascinated and puzzled generations of scientists. I am particularly interested in vision in arthropods, since they have evolved sophisticated eyes, but small brains compared to vertebrates or cephalopods. How do arthropods make sense of complex visual information from the environment without much computing power? Do they use the same or different processing strategies as their ‘brainy’ relatives? Are the small brains of arthropods one of the reasons for their enormous diversity of eye designs? I am trying to answer questions like these using a number of different techniques including behavioural experiments, electrophysiology, neuroanatomy, and phylogenetics. Sometimes, I get distracted by exciting side projects that open up a whole new world. There is so much to discover!

  • Dr Ulrike Siebeck

    Biomedical Sciences
    University of Queensland (UQ), Australia

    My research is aimed at discovering how animal visual systems and brains function in their specific environment in order to understand some of the evolutionary pressures that lead to the behaviour and coloration we observe today. Any predictions about what will happen in the future and whether animals will be able to cope with changes in their environment will require a thorough understanding of their biology, visual perception and cognitive abilities in conjunction with the parameters that define the world that has shaped them. The most recent discoveries on the impact of ocean acidification on sensory abilities of fish, demonstrate how important it is that we understand the basic mechanisms of sensory perception. My training includes a five-year undergraduate degree in animal physiology from one of Germany’s leading universities for biology (University of Tübingen, Germany), training in the conduct of human psychophysical experiments and in cognitive neuroscience from one of the world’s major centres for cognitive neuroscience (Masters on human face recognition at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics under Profs. Nico Troje, Heinrich Bülthoff and Dezsö Varjú) and training in coral reef biology and ecology from the University of Queensland (PhD on visual ecology of reef fish) under Prof. Justin Marshall and Prof. Jack Pettigrew).

  • Associate Professor Dev Stuart-Fox

    School of Biosciences, Faculty of Science
    University of Melbourne

    I am interested in the evolution of colour signals: how they are produced, perceived and patterns of diversity in space and time. I’ve tackled this from a range of angles including visual ecology, evolutionary genetics, pigment cell biology, behavioural ecology and macroecology. Three topics I currently focus on are colour change, colour polymorphism and adaptive variation in the near-infrared.

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Key Dates

Notification to Authors 9 April 2018
Conference Registration Open now!
Early Bird Registration Now closed
ICN2018 Conference 15 - 20 July 2018
Page information up to date as of Thursday 5 July 2018 AEST.