SURF

Robert Hicks

A Behavioral Study of Learning in Stomatopod Crustaceans

My research project focuses on elucidating the visual and cognitive abilities of Stomatopod Crustaceans through animal behavior experiments. Commonly known as Mantis Shrimp, these marine crustaceans comprise a family of 350 species, some of which evolved over 100 million years ago. As active predators, they need excellent eyesight to locate and attack prey in their underwater environments, where light is filtered and reduced. I am investigating Stomatopods ability to learn to respond to a particular visual stimulus, and how this relates to their eye structure and brain function. Through repeated tests in which the animal is rewarded with food when it chooses the correct shape, I hope to gain new insight into the visual world of these fascinating invertebrates.

Message to Sponsor

I am excited to study a unique group of animals and apply what Ive learned as an Integrative Biology major at Cal. I have always been fascinated with the ocean and the complexity of the creatures that inhabit it, and working in the Caldwell lab has given me an opportunity to pursue this passion through research. The SURF Program is a great opportunity for me to interact closely with expert scientists, and learn how to design and conduct an independent research project.
  • Major: Integrative Biology
  • Mentor: Roy Caldwell, Integrative Biology