ARC DECRA Research Fellow



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There are so many wonders under the sea and still so much to discover with only 5% of our ocean explored to date. Yet, we know more about space than the environment covering 71% of our own planet…

Fanny is originally from France where she completed her Bachelor and Master of Science. In 2009 she moved to Australia to start her PhD at the University of Western Australia under the supervision of Prof. Shaun Collin and Professor Justin Marshall, establishing her expertise in the visual system of deep-sea fishes. Since the completion of her PhD, Fanny worked as a postdoctoral researcher at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (Saudi Arabia) and here in the Marshall Lab. At the end of 2017, she was awarded an ARC DECRA Fellowship to continue her research on fish vision in dim conditions, working with both deep-sea and coral reef fishes.


My main research interests lay in visual ecology, sensory systems, marine biology and deep-sea ecology/biology/diversity. I am particularly fascinated by the deep-sea environment and how its inhabitants have adapted to see in dim light conditions and for viewing bioluminescence. Contrarily to what most people think, the deep-sea is not a completely dark environment and deep-sea fish do have functional eyes! Their eyes are in fact much more powerful than ours in term of sensitivity, allowing them to detect daylight at depths up to 1000m and see bioluminescent signals emitted by conspecifics.

By using a multidisciplinary approach involving neurobiology, phylogeny and ecology, I aim to better understand fish visual adaptations in relation to their environment and evolutionary history. During my PhD, I studied in detail the visual system of one of the most abundant deep-sea fish family in the world ocean, the lanternfishes (Myctophidae). This work led to the discovery of novel visual specialisations for vision in dim conditions and for viewing bioluminescence, and shed some lights on lanternfish behaviour.

In addition to continuing my investigation of the visual system of deep-sea fishes, my current work in the Marshall’s lab, also takes me to the reef to study colour vision. I am particularly interested in the visual system of holocentrids (squirrelfish and soldierfish), a family of nocturnal reef fishes that have a strong ecological and evolutionary connection to deep-water habitats.

In January 2018, I started an ARC DECRA Fellowship investigating the capabilities of teleost fish to see colour in dim conditions.


2005 BSc University of La Rochelle and University of Tours, FRANCE
2006 MSc University of La Rochelle, FRANCE, including a one-year European exchange (Erasmus) at the University of Southampton, UK.
2007 MSc University of Brest, FRANCE
2014 PhD The University of Western Australia, AUSTRALIA


2008-2009 Research Assistant, Ifremer, FRANCE
2014-2015 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, SAUDI ARABIA
2015-2017 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, The University of Queensland, AUSTRALIA
2018-present ARC DECRA Research Fellow, The University of Queensland, AUSTRALIA



  • Lily Fogg

    PhD candidate (UQ)




de Busserolles F, Fogg L, Cortesi F, Marshall NJ (2020) The exceptional diversity of visual adaptations in deep-sea teleost fishes. Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology doi:

Cortesi F, Mitchell L, Tettamanti V, Fogg L, de Busserolles F, Cheney KL, Marshall NJ (2020) Visual system diversity in coral reef fishes. Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology

Cechetto C, de Busserolles F, Jakobsen L, Warrant E (2020) Retinal ganglion cell topography and spatial resolving power in echolocating and non-echolocating bat. Brain Behavior and Evolution (in press)


Musilova Z, Cortesi F, Matschiner M, Davies WIL, Patel JS, Stieb SM, de Busserolles F, Malmstrøm M, Tørresen OK, Brown CJ, Mountford JK, Hanel R, Stenkamp DL, Jakobsen KS, Carleton KL, Jentoft S, Marshall NJ, Salzbuger W (2019) Vision using multiple distinct rod opsins in deep-sea fishes. Science 364 (6440) 588-592. Download paper
Tettamanti V, de Busserolles F, Lecchini D, Marshall NJ, Cortesi F (2020) Visual system development of the spotted unicornfish, Naso brevirostris (Acanthuridae). Journal of Experimental Biology 222(24): 14.


de Busserolles F, Cortesi F, Helvik JV, Davies WIL, Templin RM, Sullivan RKP, Michell CT, Mountford JK, Collin SP, Irigoien X, Kaartvedt S, Marshall NJ. (2017) Pushing the limits of photoreception in twilight conditions: The rod-like cone retina of the deep-sea pearlsides. Science Advances DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aao4709 Download Paper 
de Busserolles F, Marshall NJ (2017) Seeing in the deep-sea: visual adaptations in lanternfishes. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2016.0070 Download Paper 


de Busserolles F, Hart NS, Hunt DM, Davies WI, Marshall NJ, Clarke MW, Hahne D, Collin SP (2015) Spectral tuning in the eyes of deep-sea lanternfishes (Myctophidae): a novel sexually dimorphic intra-ocular filter Brain, Behavior and Evolution DOI: 10.1159/000371652 Download Paper