My research investigates how animals are able to use vibrations through materials and along surfaces for information. Studying this form of information transfer requires an understanding of the generation, propagation and detection of vibrations. Please see recent review published in Animal Behaviour for more information.
Current projects include investigating how spider webs influence vibration propagation, and how spiders can use this information to determine the location of vibration sources. I also investigate elephants in the field in Kenya, looking at the role that the terrain plays in the propagation distance of elephant generated vibrations. Furthermore, I invesitgate vibration sensing in the model species of nematode worm, C. elegans and vibration generation mechanisms in hemipteran bugs.
My current fellowship focusses on vibration sensing in true bugs (Heteroptera) that detect vibrations on very different substrates - the water surface, plant tissue and silk. Each substrate represents different challenges for filtering useful biological information from unwanted background noise. I use experimental approaches, including laser vibrometery and electro-physiology, to separate the physical and physiological filtering mechanisms.