Project Title

Contour Completion Threshold in Sepia Bandensis

Name of Award

3M Small Scale Grant

Date Awarded

2-2013

Department/School

Biology

Project Description

Cynthia Norton, Professor of Biology, and Andrea Jones, student researcher, received a $2,400 award from the 3M Small Scale Grant program to focus on the cuttlefish's ability to camouflage themselves. The project will look at the disruptive pattern, in which cuttlefish create larger patches of dark and light coloration to camouflage themselves against backgrounds with high contrast. Cuttlefish display this disruptive color patterning when placed on both whole circle backgrounds and fragmented circle backgrounds. However, when they are placed on a background in which the circle fragments are rotated, they show uniform patterning (no disruptive patterning). This suggests that they are able to use contour completion to recognize fragmented circles as whole circles and utilize disruptive camouflage accordingly. The study will test the threshold of their ability to complete fragmented circles by slowly reducing the space between fragments on an artificial background and observing camouflage reaction. This will expand on the previous research regarding contour completion and give scientists further insight into the camouflage capacity of Sepia species in shallow-water environments.

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