Craig Perl, PhD


My research interests to date have largely focussed on eye allometry and size differences in social insects. During my doctoral research I became interested in internidal differences in morphological and physiological scaling. How different are morphological and physiological scaling rules among nests within a population? To what extent do these differences mediate social insect behaviour and foraging? Is allometric variability adaptive?


The role of allometry in determining life history traits has been well established but variability in allometric traits at different levels of biological organisation (within organs, conspecifics, nests, populations) is fruitful ground for future investigations. Growth of any kind is restrained by inherent trade-offs. The way in which different organs scale are fundamental to determine individual differences in behaviour and ecology. Social insects are a brilliant model with which to examine these problems due to the additional level of organisation (colonies), their capacity to be behaviourally manipulated and ease of performing morphological and anatomical investigations.


At Stockholm University I am focussing on learning additional skills, namely MATLAB and MicroCT scanning, as well as broadening my research into the vision of other insects. I am currently investigating dung beetles through a combination of 3D tracking combined with visual world reconstructions, with an overall aim of understanding their visual navigation behaviour.


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Perl CD, Niven JE. 2018 Metabolic rate scaling, ventilation patterns and respiratory water loss in red wood ants: Activity drives ventilation changes, metabolic rate drives water loss. In revision. 

Perl CD, Rossoni S, Niven JE. 2017 Conservative whole-organ scaling contrasts with highly labile suborgan scaling differences among compound eyes of closely-related Formica ants. Ecology and Evolution 7: 1663–1673. 

Perl CD, Niven JE. 2016 Colony-level differences in the scaling rules governing wood ant compound eye structure. Scientific Reports 6: 24204. 

Perl CD, Niven JE. 2016 Differential scaling within an insect compound eye. Biology Letters. 12: 20160042. 

Rudall PJ, Perl CD, Bateman RM. 2013 Organ homologies in orchid flowers re-interpreted using the Musk Orchid as a model. PeerJ 1: e26.