May 28, 2015

Justine J. Allen


Photo by D. Akkaynak

Student Profile – Justine J. Allen
Brown Neuroscience / MBL Program in Sensory Physiology and Behavior

I am interested in changeable, adaptive camouflage and study a cephalopod model, the European cuttlefish Sepia officinalis. I am particularly focused on the neurophysiology of this animal’s three-dimensional papillae, elements that allow for dynamic skin texture change, and the visual cues that evoke their expression. Laboratory experiments are complemented by underwater photography and videography, and I am an AAUS certified scientific diver. At the MBL, I am working with Dr. Roger T. Hanlon.


Akkaynak, D., Treibitz, T., Xiao, B., Gürkan, U., Allen, J. J., Demirci, U., Hanlon, R. T. 2013. Use of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) digital cameras for scientific data acquisition and scene-specific color calibration. Journal of the Optical Socitey of America A. [Early Posting].

Allen, J. J., Bell, G. R. R., Kuzirian, A. M., Velankar, S. S., Hanlon, R. T. 2013. Comparative morphology of changeable skin papillae in octopus and cuttlefish. Journal of Morphology. [Epub ahead of print].

Allen, J. J., Bell, G. R. R., Kuzirian, A. M., Hanlon, R. T. 2013. Cuttlefish skin papilla morphology suggests a muscular hydrostatic function for rapid changeability. Journal of Morphology 274:645-656.

Akkaynak, D., Allen, J. J., Mäthger, L. M., Chiao, C.-C., Hanlon, R. T. 2013. Quantification of cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis) camouflage: a study of color and luminance using in situ spectrometry. Journal of Comparative Physiology A 199:211-225.

Mäthger, L. M., Bell, G. R. R., Kuzirian, A. M., Allen, J. J., Hanlon, R. T. 2012. How does the bule-ringed octopus (Hapalochlaena lunulata) flash its blue rings? Journal of Experimental Biology 215:3752-3757.

*Barbosa, A., Allen, J. J., Mäthger, L. M., Hanlon, R. T. 2012. Cuttlefish use visual cues to determine arm postures for camouflage. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 279:84-90. *This paper has two first authors.

Akkaynak, D., Chan, E., Allen, J. J., and Hanlon, R. T. 2011. Using spectrometry and photography to study color underwater. Oceans ’11 IEEE Conference Proceedings.

Buresch, K. C., Mäthger, L. M., Allen, J. J., Bennice, C., Smith, N., Schram, J., Chiao, C.-C., Chubb, C., Hanlon, R. T. 2011. The use of background matching vs. masquerade for camouflage in cuttlefish Sepia officinalis. Vision Research 51:2362-2368.

Hanlon, R. T., Chiao C.-C., Mäthger, L. M., Buresch, K. C., Barbosa, A., Allen, J. J., Siemann L., and Chubb C. 2011. Rapid adaptive camouflage in cephalopods. In Animal Camouflage: Mechanisms and Functions. (M. Stevens, and S. Merilaita, eds.), pp. 145-163. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, U.K.

Chiao, C.-C., Wickiser, J. K., Allen, J. J., Genter, B., Hanlon, R. T. 2011 Hyperspectral imaging of cuttlefish camouflage indicates good color match in the eyes of fish predators. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 108:9148-9153

*Allen, J. J., Mäthger, L. M., Buresch, K. C., Fetchko, T., Gardner, M., Hanlon R. T. 2010 Night vision by cuttlefish enables changeable camouflage. Journal of Experimental Biology 213:3953-3960. *This paper has two first authors.

Chiao, C.-C., Chubb, C., Buresch, K. C., Barbosa, A., Allen, J. J., Mäthger, L. M., Hanlon, R. T. 2010 Mottle camouflage patterns in cuttlefish: quantitative characterization and visual background stimuli that evoke them. Journal of Experimental Biology 213:187-199.

Allen, J. J., Mäthger, L. M., Barbosa, A., Buresch, K. C., Sogin, E., Schwartz, J., Chubb, C., Hanlon, R. T. 2010 Cuttlefish dynamic camouflage: responses to substrate choice and integration of multiple visual cues. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 277:1031-1039.

Allen, J. J., Mäthger, L. M., Barbosa, A., Hanlon, R. T. 2009 Cuttlefish use visual cues to control three-dimensional skin papillae for camouflage. Journal of Comparative Physiology A 195:547-555.


National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship (NDSEG) – 2010-2013 

National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (NSF GRFP) – 2013-Present


Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology

New England Society for Microscopy

Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society

nice algae cuttle photo_small     

Photo by Justine J. Allen, Brown University / Marine Biological Laboratory