Professor Justin Marshall, Sensory Neurobiology, Queensland Brain Institute, The University of Queensland, QLD
Professor Marshall’s 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, anatomy, behaviour and neural integration, he hopes to decode languages such as colour and polarisation.
Much of his work focusses on the marine environment, in particular reef systems and the deep-sea. As part of this effort he has become acutely aware of man’s influence on both these environments and now run two projects / organisations: The Deep Australia Project, bringing research submersibles and high-tech deep-sea capability to Australia for the first time and CoralWatch, the world’s largest citizen-science-based coral health assessment program (60 countries, 10 languages).
The six main research streams within the Marshall laboratory 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