Dr Lauren Sumner-Rooney, Museum Research Fellow


Email: lauren.sumner-rooney@oum.ox.ac.uk
Phone: +44 (0)1865 272996

Research summary

My research combines a range of techniques to study the function and evolution of sensory and nervous systems in invertebrates. These systems are staggeringly diverse, and they form the interface between organisms and their environment, having profound behavioural, ecological and evolutionary impacts. Currently, I’m focussing on the parallel changes to eyes and brains in animals inhabiting different light environments, from eagle-eyed hunters to blind cave species. Another main interest is how organisms without eyes navigate using light information. Through high-resolution microscopy and tomography, comparative morphology, behavioural experiments, transcriptomics and developmental biology, we can disentangle how and why these complex structures evolved, and what they can reveal about the history of animal life.

Google Scholar Profile


Callochiton septemvalvis 3D digital model of internal anatomy in Callochiton septemvalvis

Selected publications

Schwabe E, Heß M, Sumner-Rooney LH, Sellanes J. In press. Anatomy of Zetela alphonsi Vilvens, 2002 (Mollusca: Solariellidae) casts doubt on its taxonomic placement according to conchological characters. Spixiana.

Sumner-Rooney LH, Sigwart JD. 2017. Lazarus in the museum: resurrecting historic specimens through new technology. Invertebrate Zoology. 14, 1:73-84.

Sigwart JD, Sumner-Rooney LH, Dickey J, Carey N. 2016. The scaphopod foot is ventral: more anatomical evidence from Rhabdus rectius (Carpenter, 1864) (Dentaliida: Rhabdidae). Molluscan Research. DOI: 10.1080/02699931.2011.628301.

Sumner-Rooney LH, Sigwart JD, McAfee J, Smith L, Williams ST. 2016. Repeated eye reduction events show contrasting morphological features in a family of marine snails. Evolution. 70, 10: 2268-2295.

Sumner-Rooney LH, Schrödl M, Lodde-Bensch E, Lindberg DR, Heß M, Brennan GP, Sigwart JD. 2015. A neurophylogenetic approach provides new insight to the evolution of Scaphopoda. Evolution and Development. 17, 6: 337-346.

Spider preserved in Baltic amber Spider preserved in Baltic amber, with visible eyes

Sumner-Rooney LH, Sigwart JD. 2015. Is the Schwabe organ a larval eye? Anatomical and behavioural studies of a novel sense organ in Leptochiton asellus (Mollusca, Polyplacophora) indicate links to larval photoreceptors. PLoS ONE. 10:9. e0137119.

Sigwart JD, Sumner-Rooney LH, Schwabe E, Heß M, Brennan GP, Schrödl M. 2014. A novel sensory organ in ‘primitive’ molluscs (Polyplacophora: Lepidopleurida) and its context in the nervous system of chitons. Frontiers in Zoology. 11:7.

St Anne's College, University of Oxford


Visiting Fellowships Sammy De Grave Charlotte Inchley Jack Matthews Duncan Murdock Ricardo Pérez-de la Fuente Imran Rahman Mark Robinson Derek Siveter Paul Smith Lauren Sumner-Rooney
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