Trevor Wardill, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior

E-MAIL: twardill@umn.edu

Research Interests:

Neural processing of visual information by invertebrates is poorly known, particularly in non-model species. The diversity of processing strategies among invertebrates offers enormous insight about how visuo-motor transformation can be completed efficiently and be tailored to specific tasks. Our approach leverages investigating species that have been around for 100's of millions of years with little change in form and have survived through several extinction cycles.  The optimisation strategies of such animals will provide insight to our biological understanding of these species but also new computation and automation methods. 

We use genetic, physiology and behavioral experiments to identify visual circuit components in the model animal, Drosophila melanogaster as well as in other fly species, such as Spotted Wing Drosophila (Drosophila suzukii) and Killer flies (Coenosia attenuata). Taking this comparative approach allows us to reveal general principles of circuit function.

Our lab also investigates how cephalopods process visual information and consequently express various forms of signals on their skin (movement, color, pattern, polarization, and 3D shapes). We use advanced methods in genetic manipulation, 2-photon imaging and behavioral quantification and are seeking interest from PhD students.


Selected Publications:

  • Feord RC, Sumner ME, Pusdekar S, Kalra L, Gonzalez-Bellido PT, Wardill TJ. Cuttlefish employ stereopsis to strike at prey. Sci Adv. 2020 Jan 8;6(2):eaay6036.
  • Supple J, Pinto-Benito D, Khoo C, Wardill T, Fabian ST, Liu M, Pusdekar S, Galeano D, Pan J, Jiang S, Wang Y, Liu L, Peng H, Olberg RM, Gonzalez-Bellido PT. Binocular encoding in the damselfly premotor target tracking system. Curr Biol. 2020;30(4):645-656.e4.
  • Feller KD, Wilby D, Jacucci G, Vignolini S, Mantell J, Wardill TJ, Cronin TW, Roberts NW. Long-wavelength reflecting filters found in the larval retinas of one Mantis shrimp family (Nannosquillidae). Current Biology 2019;29:P3101-3108.
  • Gonzalez-Bellido PT, Scaros AT, Hanlon RT, Wardill TJ. Neural control of dynamic 3-dimensional skin papillae for cuttlefish camouflage. iScience 2018;1:24–34.
  • Wardill TJ*, Fabian ST*, Pettigrew A, Stavenga D, Nordström K, Gonzalez-Bellido PT. A novel interception strategy in a miniature robber fly with extreme visual acuity. Curr Biol. 2017;27(6):854-859.
  • Wardill TJ, Knowles K, Barlow L, Tapia G, Nordström K, Olberg RM and Gonzalez-Bellido PT. The killer fly hunger games: Target size and speed predicts decision to pursuit. Brain Behav Evol. 2015;86:28-37.
  • Chen T-W, Wardill TJ, Sun Y, Pulver SR, Renninger SL, Schreiter ER, Kerr RA, Orger MB, Jayaraman V, Looger LL, Svoboda K, Kim DS. Ultra-sensitive fluorescent protein sensors for neural activity. Nature 2013;499:295-300.
  • Wardill TJ*, Gonzalez-Bellido PT*, Crook RJ, Hanlon RT. Neural control of tuneable skin iridescence in squid. Proc. R. Soc. B. 2012;279:4243-4252.
  • Wardill TJ, List O, Li X, Dongre S, McCulloch M, Ting C-Y, O’Kane C, Tang S, Lee C-H, Hardie RC, Juusola M. Multiple spectral inputs improve motion discrimination in the Drosophila visual system. Science 2012;336:925-931.
Picture of Trevor Wardill