Research Role
NERC GW4+ PhD Student, University of Exeter 2019-2023

My current research project is on ‘The Role of Camouflage in the Conservation and Survival of Ground-Nesting Birds’ supervised by Jolyon Troscianko (Exeter), Martin Stevens (Exeter), Innes Cuthill (Bristol) and Andrew Hoodless (GWCT). My project aims to determine whether different land-management techniques affect the camouflage efficacy of lapwing nests and how they might be modified to best compliment their camouflage and survival success. I will first investigate which aspects of camouflage, light environment and three-dimensional habitat structure, correlate best with nest survival by using calibrated animal-vision imaging and 3D scanning techniques to compare predicted camouflage efficacy with nest survival. Any causal-links found between land-management and camouflage efficacy will then be tested through controlled predation experiments, using 3D printed lapwing eggs with animal-vision calibrated colour printed patterns. I have also taken an interest in the use of genetic algorithms for exploring camouflage hypotheses and have co-developed tools, with my supervisor Jolyon , for generating artificial animal and egg patterns and a custom genetic algorithm for pattern evolution.

Prior Research
MSci Zoology, University of Bristol 2015-2019

I obtained an MSci Zoology from the University of Bristol back in 2019, with my master’s research project being ‘Lights Camouflage Action! The concealment of motion by dynamic caustic lighting’ which aimed to investigate whether sinusoidal motion enhances the motion masking effect of dynamic lighting

In my third year, I conducted a literature review ‘The Climb of Birds, the evolution of arboreality in theropod dinosaurs’ which reviewed when and where arboreality evolved in bird-line theropods. After my third year, I spent 6 weeks conducting an ASAB funded research project looking at the function of the ‘mesmerising display of the broad clubbed cuttlefish’ and whether it influences predator detection of shore crabs (Carcinus maenas).

General Interests
My general interests are in how the habitats of animals shape optimal behavioural, locomotion and camouflage strategies. In addition, I’m a tetrapod enthusiast with a particular passion for archosaurs (birds, crocodiles, dinosaurs and pterosaurs).

You can find me on Twitter (@Javaraptor) where I post a mixture of science updates, personal research and also Minecraft content.

Contact Details
Mobile: +44 7904968347
Email: /

Hancock, G.R.A.*, Troscianko, J. CamoEvo: An open access toolbox for artificial camouflage evolution experiments.  EVOLUTION, (2022).

George Hancock