Why Velcro 3D glasses onto cuttlefish? In Episode 69, Trevor Wardill from the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior at the University of Minnesota discusses his research into the previously unknown ability of the cephalopod to see in stereo vision. His article, Cuttlefish use stereopsis to strike at prey,“ was published along with multiple co-authors on January 8, 2020 in the journal Science Advances.



Websites and other resources

      • Sendup of Trevor’s experiment on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert:

      • Wired video on Jenny Read‘s researcher into stereopsis among praying mantis:

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    Hosts / Producers

    Ryan Watkins & Doug Leigh

    How to Cite

    Watkins, R., Leigh, D., & Wardill, T.. (2020). Parsing Science – Cuttlefish in 3D Glasses. figshare. https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.11936289


    What’s The Angle? by Shane Ivers


    Trevor Wardill: As you might guess, some cuttlefish – when you put glasses on their head – don’t want to wear them.

    Ryan Watkins: This is Parsing Science: the unpublished stories behind the world’s most compelling science, as told by the researcher themselves. I’m Ryan Watkins.

    Doug Leigh: And I’m Doug Leigh. Today, in episode 69 of Parsing Science, we’re joined by Trevor Wardill from the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior at the University of Minnesota. He’ll talk with us about his research into the previously unknown ability of cuttlefish to see in stereo vision: a trait which he identified by having them wear 3D glasses. Here’s Trevor Wardill.

    Wardill: Hello, my name is Trevor Wardill. I’m an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota in the department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior. And I’ve had a fairly diverse pathway, you might say, to get to this point. As you might have guessed from my voice, I’m Australian. So, I grew up in Brisbane in Queensland and I did all my sort of major studies there. So, my Bachelor of Science. I did a year of honors research, so just like a small thesis. And then I did my PhD in Population Genetics of insects and plants – and that was a biologic control inspired thesis – to investigate sort of genetic diversity in insects that are used to control plants. And during my PhD I met my wife; well, wife-to-be. So that sort of inspired a lot of moving all over the planet. I ended up doing a lot of postdocs. Ended up culminating in me getting, well, quite a prestigious fellowship at the University of Cambridge in England. And that’s called a David Phillips Fellowship. And it means that you get to start your own lab and go after research questions that are fairly ambitious, because they fund you very well to do that. It is sort of a launching platform to do science and I guess ultimately get me the position that I have now at the University of Minnesota.

    Watkins: To start out our conversation, we asked Trevor to describe what cuttlefish are like, as well as why they’re of such interest to researchers.

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