I am broadly interested in all aspects of colour and its functionality in biological organisms. As an optical physicist, the primary focus of my research to date has been the structural colours that are observed in an abundance of animal and plant systems. More vibrant and durable than the colours produced via pigmentation, these colours arise due to incident light being physically manipulated by structural features measuring from tens to hundreds of nanometres in size. Such biological photonic structures are extremely ecologically diverse, being encountered in the skies, the oceans and (almost) everywhere in between.
In particular, I am interested in biological architectures that affect the polarisation properties of light and the biological mechanisms that control their development. My current project will seek to provide new insights regarding the evolution and taphonomy (processes of decay and fossilisation) of scales and 3D photonic crystals in insects (primarily beetles).