Already in high school I had two favourite subjects: biology and physics. Because I have always been fascinated with life I chose to study biology. During my biology studies at the University of Wageningen in the Netherlands, I have tried to combine my interest in both subjects. I have been involved with several interesting, and diverse subjects, covering both the plant and animal kingdom. During my first master thesis I worked on organelle movement in plant cells and did an internship at a physics laboratory (Amolf, Amsterdam) in order to broaden my knowledge of physics. My second master thesis at a zoological department led to a publication on the shape of the claws of carnivorous insects.
Coming to Lund to do my PhD felt like a natural continuation. The Vision Group gives me the opportunity to again combine my interest in biology and physics. In my PhD I try to unravel the visual systems in the Caribbean box jellyfish species Tripedalia cystophora. These box jellyfish have 24 eyes in six groups, 8 of these eyes are camera type eyes, anatomically similar to human eyes.
Visually guided swimming
What makes thes box jellyfish so interesting are the visually guided behaviours they can perform. The visual system of the box jellyfish has been studied but nothing was know yet about how the animals use their eyes to control their swimming behaviour.
In my research project I investigated how the visual environment affects the swim system of the box jellyfish. In my experiments I present a tethered box jellyfish with a predefined visual environment while I monitor the contraction of the bell and the shape "jet exhaust" that control the efficiency and the direction the animal swims to.