To understand how prey phenotypes are shaped by interactions with predators, we must study predator responses to different prey. We focus on avian predators and run experiments asking birds which types of prey they can find and are willing to eat.
These experiments take place at Lammi Biological Station, where the new bird facilities allow us to run predator assays with wild birds that are held briefly in captivity. Using a variety of different experimental setups, we present birds with stimuli that vary in appearance, chemical composition, or behavior to determine how these characteristics can help to protect prey from their enemies.
How do different species see the world? Many animals – including the species we study – have very different visual systems to our own. To understand how animal colors and patterns can structure interactions within and between species, we must “see” the world from their perspectives.
We use visual models to simulate species-specific visual perception and show how animals use color to hide, confuse, and communicate with both friend and foe. This research focuses on aposematism, camouflage, and sexual signals.