Project Nightjar

Citizen science games and online experiments for Project Nightjar, one of the Sensory Ecology Group’s studies, based at the University of Exeter (Cornwall Campus), in collaboration with the Behavioural Ecology Group at the University of Cambridge. The project aims to increase our understanding of camouflage in the wild and its relationship with survival. To do this we study the camouflage of ground nesting birds, and their eggs and chicks.

FoAM's work with the Sensory Ecology group includes building citizen science games to allow people to contribute to the research by allowing us to test their perception. Predators of the nightjars include vervet monkeys, who have the same colour perception as us, so we can use humans to answer questions regarding the evolution of camouflage features such as background matching, disruptive coloration and masquerade.

For the next citizen science game we are currently working on computational evolutionary strategies (genetic programming) in order to generate egg patterns under pressure of selection from players hunting them in an online game. Read more about that here and here.