I am a research fellow working with Dr Jolyon Troscianko, investigating the impacts of light pollution on the visual ecology of moths, as part of a wider team with Prof Kevin Gaston, Dr Jonathan Bennie and Dr Jim Galloway.

My previous research has covered a range of topics in animal coloration, from cuttlefish camouflage patterns to the functions of zebra stripes, but my main projects have focused on colour patterns and visual perception in Lepidoptera. For my PhD, I investigated warning coloration in day-flying burnet moths (Zygaenidae), relating variation in colour pattern, chemical defence levels and predation risk, both within and between species, to test signal honesty in this system. Recent projects include work on generalist and specialist camouflage strategies, the effects of conspicuous wing patterns on predator perception during butterfly flight, and visual modelling of how artificial lighting might affect colour perception by nocturnal hawkmoths. I am especially interested in using an understanding of visual ecology to approach problems relevant to biodiversity conservation, and enjoy raising awareness of the extraordinary adaptations of vulnerable species through public engagement, including outreach events and a children’s book exploring the visual defences of moths. I also work as an author for the MRC London Insititute of Medical Sciences’ Biomedical Picture of the Day website, showcasing the latest discoveries in biomedical research.


Briolat ES, Gaston KJ, Bennie J, Rosenfeld E & Troscianko J. (2021) Artificial nighttime lighting impacts visual ecology links between flowers, pollinators and predators. Nat Commun 12, 4163 (2021). doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-24394-0

Briolat ES, Arenas, LM, Hughes, AE, Liggins E & Stevens, M. (2021) Generalist camouflage can be more successful than microhabitat specialisation in natural environments. BMC Ecol Evo 21, 151 (2021). doi.org/10.1186/s12862-021-01883-w

Caro T, Argueta Y, Briolat ES, Bruggink J, Kasprowsky M, Lake J, Mitchell MJ, Richardson S & How M. (2019) Benefits of zebra stripes: behaviour of tabanid flies around zebras and horses. PLoS One 14(2): e0210831. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0210831

Briolat ES, Zagrobelny M, Olsen C-E, Blount JD & Stevens M. (2019) No evidence of quantitative signal honesty across species of aposematic burnet moths (Lepidoptera: Zygaenidae). Journal of Evolutionary Biology 32(1): 31-48. doi:10.1111/jeb.13389

Briolat ES*, Burdfield-Steel ER*, Paul SC*, Rönkä RH*, Seymoure BM*, Stankowich T* & Stuckert AMM.* (2019) Diversity in warning coloration: Selective paradox or the norm? Biological Reviews 94(2): 388-412. *equal contributors doi:10.1111/brv.12460

Briolat ES, Zagrobelny M, Olsen C-E, Blount JD & Stevens M. (2018) Sex differences but no quantitative honesty in the aposematic six-spot burnet moth (Zygaena filipendulae L.). Evolution 72(7): 1460-1474. doi:10.1111/evo.13505

Emmanuelle Briolat

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