JCSMR School Seminar Series: Evolution of colour vision

Professor Daniel Osorio, Professor of Neuroscience and Deputy Head of School of Life Sciences, University of Sussex.

Daniel Osorio is Professor of Neuroscience at Sussex University, and Director of Teaching in the School of Life Sciences. He read Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge, specialising in Zoology. Daniel moved to Australia for postgraduate studies, taking a Ph.D. in Neurobiology with a thesis on insect visual physiology. After Postdoctoral posts in Cambridge and the Australian National University, he moved to Sussex in 1992.

Daniel Osorio’s research centres on understanding how animals see colour, how they recognise the objects they encounter in their daily lives, and how these abilities have evolved. His studies encompass a variety of animals including butterflies, primates, birds and cephalopod molluscs.
In addition, Daniel holds a patent for colour measurement in photographic images. This is based on theory developed to understand animal colour vision, and is currently being tested for use in medical applications. He sits on the research Committee of the Biology and Biotechnology Research Council. He also has an interest in ethics and welfare; he is on the Ethics Committee of the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour, and of Merlin Entertainments (which owns many public aquaria and zoos), and is part of a team writing guidelines for the use of Cephalopods under the protection of the EU animal welfare legislation, which was implemented in 2013.

Evolutionary biologists have long been fascinated by the evolution of animal colour vision, and by the colour signals that animals and plants use for communication. Do signals and senses co-evolve as an efficient communication system, or do signals, such as the peacock’s ‘tail’, exploit innate colour preferences? Looking at primates, butterflies, bees and birds, I will outline our current understanding of the diversity of animal colour vision, how it serves the needs of vision in daily life, and what we can say now about the evolution of colour in communication signals

Date & time

12–1pm 25 October 2013


The Finkel Lecture Theatre, The John Curtin School of Medical Research, Building 131, Garran Road, ANU


 Laura Vitler, Host: Ted Maddess
 02 6125 2589

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