Animals exhibit tremendous diversity in colouration. Our research examines the evolution of animal colouration in light of the perceivers of such signals (for instance predators, prey and potential partners) using insects, birds and fish as model systems.


Warning signals

We study predator information processing using both theoretical and empirical approaches to understand the evolution of warning signals in animals. To do this, we incorporate predator cognition, including learning, generalization and categorization, to better understand the selective pressures that act on prey defensive coloration.

Principal Investigators: Gabriella Gamberale Stille
Contributing Researchers: Baharan Kazemi




We evaluate how predators perceive and incorporate information about animal coloration to answer questions about mimicry evolution, including imperfect and perfect mimicry. We primarily use birds and butterflies as model systems in this research.

Principal Investigators: Gabriella Gamberale Stille, Olof Leimar
Contributing Researchers: Baharan Kazemi


Adaptive function of eyespots

Eyespots, conspicuous spots surrounded by concentric rings, are widespread in animals and often assumed to serve an anti-predator function. Our research investigates the evolutionary origins and function of eyespots in fish, focusing on rays and butterflyfishes and combining comparative and experimental approaches.

Principal Investigators: John Fitzpatrick