Zeke Rowe, PhD Student


Evading detection by predators is often crucial for an animal’s survival. Camouflage is a widespread solution to this problem and yet, despite substantial research efforts, our understanding of camouflage relies mainly on individual species without taking into account the wider ecological implications.

As part of the CAMOSENSE project, I will be using visual camouflage traits to try and develop a quantitative framework to study the predator-prey interactions of whole communities. The project aims to phenotype hundreds of species of Lepidoptera whilst also quantifying their visual environments to examine their camouflage efficiency. By doing this we ultimately hope to develop a framework in which we are able to better predict how communities will respond to environmental change. In addition to this, I will be exploring other questions on community-level camouflage and antipredator behaviour.

I have previously worked on a number of projects exploring adaptive colouration and animal conservation. My Master’s work focused on visual complexity and its evolutionary and ecological impacts on animal camouflage.

Selected Publications

Rowe ZW, Austin DJD, Chippington N, Flynn W, Starkey F, Wightman EJ, Scott-Samuel NE and Cuthill IC. 2021 Background complexity can mitigate poor camouflage. Proceedings of the Royal Society: B. 288,

Caro T, Rowe Z, Berger J, Wholey P and Dobson A. 2022 An inconvenient misconception: Climate change is not the principal driver of biodiversity loss. Conservation Letters.  00e12868. doi.org/10.1111/conl.12868.

Caro T, Brockelsbury K, Ferrari A, Koneru M, Ono K, Rowe ZW, Touche E, Walker H, and Stankowich T. 2022 On the evolution of distinctive natal coat coloration in primates. American Journal of Biological Anthropology. 177, 530– 539, doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.24468.

Dobson A, Rowe Z, Berger J, Wholey P and Caro T. 2021 Biodiversity loss due to more than climate change. Science. 374, 699-700, doi:10.1126/science.abm6216.

Rowe ZW, Robins JH, and Rands SA. 2020 Red deer Cervus elaphus blink more in larger groups. Scientific Reports (in review) (bioRxiv preprint. doi.org/10.1101/2020.08.11.245837)

Link to full publication list in PURE