I have found it fascinating to investigate how different species perceive their environment.
Using their sensory systems and cognitive abilities, non-human species have developed various mechanisms to gather and use surrounding information, allowing them to perform optimal behaviours in various contexts. My current research focuses on the navigation of animals living in 3 dimension (3D) environments. Non-bounded individuals experience great freedom of movements, yet this freedom comes along with a considerable increase in navigation complexity. Indeed, the directional information to be encoded in a 3D environment has 3 planes of orientation instead of 1 when surface bounded species navigate on a horizontal surface.
My research project aims to evaluate how fish estimate distance and if they are able to path integrate when navigating. These experiments are performed with goldfish (Carassius auratus) and cichlids (Lamprologus ocellatus) as model species. Using behavioural experiments this project seeks to discover which cues and sensory information are used by fish to navigate and to investigate their cognitive abilities. This research project is part of a bigger investigation frame, linking behavioural and neurophysiologic studies with the ultimate goal to understand how fish map space.
In previous research, I focused on visual systems. I evaluated how a freshwater fish, the guppy (Poecilia reticulata), discriminate between colours and how they used the contrast between adjacent colours, in a mate choice context. I also investigated the effect of the position of visual stimuli in the water column on fish behavioural response. This project demonstrated that the joint effect of environment, vision, and visual signals are essential to understanding the evolution of colour and colour pattern in nature.