Megan finished her PhD in February 2009 with a thesis titled ‘Visual filtering in box jellyfish: A simple system’. Thesis supervisors were Professor Dan-E. Nilsson, Lund University and Dr. Anders Garm, University of Copenhagen.
Unlike most other jellyfish, box jellyfish (cubomedusae) are highly visually orientated and have an elaborate visual system with a total of 24 eyes of 4 morphological types. The variety of eye types, combined with the relative scarcity of their nervous system, makes it likely that the visual system of box jellyfish is a collection of special-purpose eyes, i.e. eyes which perform one or few visual tasks.
Topics addressed in the thesis included how box jellyfish filter visual information in the spatial, temporal and spectral domains. Additional aspects addressed included morphological adaptations of the visual system to different light intensities and visual behaviour. Methods used included histology, optical modeling, electrophysiology, microspectrophotometry and behaviour.
As a PhD student, Megan was involved in numerous research trips to Australia, Hawaii and Puerto Rico and presented her results at a number of international conferences. She also was involved in collaborations with the University of Queensland, James Cook University and Bar-Ilan University. As a PhD student, Megan also held teaching responsibilities, including lecturing, leading student laboratory practicals and supervising master thesis students.