Professor Theresa Burt de Perera

Professor Theresa Burt de Perera

Tutorial Fellow in Biological Sciences


I came to Oxford as a DPhil student before progressing to a Junior Research Fellowship at Keble College, and a Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship. I joined St John's in 2010 as an Associate Professor in Zoology.


I teach whole organism biology, focusing on sensory ecology and animal behaviour.

Research Interests

I research into the behavioural mechanisms of spatial cognition, those fundamental processes that allow animals to navigate effectively through their environment. My group uses theoretical and empirical approaches to study the senses that animals use to obtain information, and to explore how this information is learned, remembered and recalled to enable efficient navigation.

Selected publications

Karlsson, C.; Willis, J. K., Patel, M. and Burt de Perera, T., ‘Teleost fish use optic flow to estimate distance travelled’, Nature Biology Communications (2021)

Davis, V., Holbrook, R., and Burt de Perera, T., ‘Fish can use hydrostatic pressure to determine absolute depth’, Nature Biology Communications (2021)

Newport, C.; Padget, O.; and Burt de Perera, T., ‘High turbidity levels alter coral reef fish movement trajectories in a foraging task’, Scientific Reports, 11, 5975 (2021)

Schumacher, S., Burt de Perera, T. and von der Emde, G., ‘Electrosensory capture during multisensory discrimination of nearby objects in the weakly electric fish Gnathonemus petersii’, Scientific Reports, 7,43665 (2017)

Schumacher, S., Burt de Perera, T., Thenert, J. and von der Emde, G., ‘Cross-modal object recognition and dynamic weighting of sensory inputs in a fish’, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113, 76387643 (2016)

Awards and distinctions

Fellow of the Royal Institute of Navigation

L’Oreal UK Fellowship for Women in Science (2007)

EPA Junior Research Fellowship, Keble College, University of Oxford