Episode 102 - The Predator Prey Arms Race

Nearly all animals see light differently than we do. Dr. Seymour endeavors to understand how light drives organismal behavior. To that end, he tries to bridge the gap between astronomers, light engineers and biologists. Each of these camps has elements of tools and measurement models that he thinks could be brought together collaboratively and synergistically to benefit our ecosystem and the study of it.

Dr. Seymoure’s research program is interdisciplinary and combines physiological, histological, and astronomical methods to understand the importance of natural light as well as the consequences of artificial light on animal behavior and ecology of animals. Overall objectives of his research are to: 1) determine how light cycles have driven visual adaptations and predator-prey dynamics; 2) quantify and investigate the myriad effects and consequences of artificial light at night on animals (mostly insects, spiders, and reptiles) from the cellular to landscape level; 3) investigate visual and morphological (e.g. coloration) adaptations that render individuals more evolutionarily successful; 4) develop techniques for quantifying light in a non-human and biologically relevant manner; 5) quantify and monitor insect populations in the Chihuahuan desert; and 6) utilize current biological research to increase learning efficacy in undergraduate courses. To accomplish these objectives, Dr. Seymoure relies upon both field and laboratory work that ranges from electrophysiology of animal eyes, automated video tracking of animal behavior, and predator-prey experiments under natural conditions.