Complex visual information can be analysed through eyes of animals


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Framework for humans to see through eyes of animals developed by researchers.

The study was published in the journal -- Methods in Ecology and Evolution. (Photo: ANI)

Washington: After the development of an innovative software framework by researchers, humans are now closer to seeing through the eyes of animals. A PhD scholar from UQ's School of Biological Sciences, Cedric van den Berg says that it has been difficult to understand how animals really see the world until now.

The study was published in the journal -- Methods in Ecology and Evolution. "Most animals have completely different visual systems to humans. So, for many species, it is unclear how they see complex visual information or colour patterns in nature, and how this drives their behaviour," he said.

"The Quantitative Colour Pattern Analysis (QCPA) framework is a collection of innovative digital image processing techniques and analytical tools designed to solve this problem. Collectively, these tools greatly improve our ability to analyse complex visual information through the eyes of animals."

Dr Jolyon Troscianko, the study's co-leader from the University of Exeter, said colour patterns have been key to understanding many fundamental evolutionary problems such as how animals signal to each other or hide from predators. "We have known for many years that understanding animal vision and signalling depends on combining colour and pattern information, but the available techniques were near impossible to implement without some key advances we developed for this framework.

"The framework's use of digital photos means it can be used in almost any habitat - even underwater - using anything from off-the-shelf cameras to sophisticated full-spectrum imaging systems." UQ's Dr Karen Cheney said the framework can be applied to a wide range of environmental conditions and visual systems.

"The flexibility of the framework allows researchers to investigate the colour patterns and natural surroundings of a wide range of organisms, such as insects, birds, fish and flowering plants," she said.