Professor John Charles Montgomery


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Professor (Personal Chair)

Research | Current

Fish have a range of interesting sensory systems in addition to vision. These include the mechanosensory hearing and lateral line systems, and in some fishes, a system to detect weak electric fields. My research has covered a wide range of fishes, from nocturnal sharks and rays, and Antarctic fish which feed in winter darkness, to New Zealand native freshwater fish and coastal reef fishes. We use field and laboratory studies to understanding the natural history and behaviour of these fish and neurophysiology to investigate the underlying neural and sensory basis of these behaviours - an approach known as neuroethology. In a collaborative study with David Bodznick at the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory we have been examining the hindbrain processing of electrosensory information, which allows rays to distinguish between their own electric fields and the fields of their prey. We have demonstrated a sophisticated adaptive filter which learns to cancel any input associated with the animal's own movement.

Many interesting and important fish behaviours, such as migration, habitat selection, and feeding, involve sensory biology. We are putting our knowledge of sensory biology to use by contributing to a range of applied problems in freshwater and marine fish biology and fisheries. Of recent note is our work on the use of acoustic clues for pre-settlement reef fish to find their way back to the reef.


Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Le Port, A., Montgomery, J. C., & Croucher, A. E. (2014). Biophysical modelling of snapper Pagrus auratus larval dispersal from a temperate MPA. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 515, 203-215. 10.3354/meps10973
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Adrian Croucher
  • Bratby, P., Montgomery, J., & Sneyd, J. (2014). A biophysical model of adaptive noise filtering in the shark brain. Bulletin of Mathematical Biology, 76 (2), 455-475. 10.1007/s11538-013-9928-0
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: James Sneyd
  • Yanase, K., Herbert, N. A., & Montgomery, J. C. (2012). Disrupted flow sensing impairs hydrodynamic performance and increases the metabolic cost of swimming in the yellowtail kingfish, Seriola lalandi. The Journal of Experimental Biology, 215 (Pt 22), 3944-3954. 10.1242/jeb.073437
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Neill Herbert
  • Montgomery, J. C., Bodznick, D., & Yopak, K. E. (2012). The cerebellum and cerebellum-like structures of cartilaginous fishes. Brain, behavior and evolution, 80 (2), 152-165. 10.1159/000339868
  • Radford, C. A., Tindle, C. T., Montgomery, J. C., & Jeffs, A. G. (2011). Modelling a reef as an extended sound source increases the predicted range at which reef noise may be heard by fish larvae. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 438, 167-174. 10.3354/meps09312
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Craig Radford, Chris Tindle, Andrew Jeffs
  • Yopak, K. E., Lisney, T. J., Darlington, R. B., Collin, S. P., Montgomery, J. C., & Finlay, B. L. (2010). A conserved pattern of brain scaling from sharks to primates. PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, 107 (29), 12946-12951. 10.1073/pnas.1002195107
  • Windsor, S. P., Norris, S. E., Cameron, S. M., Mallinson, G. D., & Montgomery, J. C. (2010). The flow fields involved in hydrodynamic imaging by blind Mexican cave fish (Astyanax fasciatus). Part I: open water and heading towards a wall. Journal of Experimental Biology, 213 (22), 3819-3831. 10.1242/jeb.040741
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Stuart Norris, Gordon Mallinson
  • Montgomery, J., & Bodznick, D. (2010). Functional origins of the vertebrate cerebellum from a sensory processing antecedent. Curr Zool, 56 (3), 277-284.


Contact details

Primary location

COMMERCE A - Bldg 114
Level 1, Room 109
New Zealand

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