Michael F. Land

Michael F. Land

Michael Francis Land FRS (born 1942) is a British neurobiologist. He is currently Emeritus Professor of Neurobiology in the Sussex Vision laboratory at the Sussex Centre for Neuroscience, University of Sussex, England.

Land's research has been on different aspects of animal and human vision. His interests were in the optics of the eyes of marine animals, including scallops, shrimps and deep-water crustaceans. He also studied visual behaviour in spiders and insects, particularly during pursuit. This led to an interest in eye movement in animals and later in man.

Land's group in Sussex is now mainly concerned with the role of eye movement in human activities such as driving, music reading and ball games.[1] In 2000 for example Land and a colleague reported their finding that in cricket, within 200 milliseconds after a ball leaves a bowler's hand, the best batsmen will take their eyes off the ball and look ahead to the point where they have calculated it will bounce[2] (see also Land & McLeod (2000) in bibliography).

Other work is on the processing of visual information by the retinas of mosquitoes.



The son of Professor Frank William Land, from 1950 to 1960 Land attended Birkenhead School, a direct grant school, on the Wirral in Cheshire. From here he went to the University of Cambridge where he studied Zoology, graduating in 1963. A PhD in Neurophysiology at University College London (UCL) followed, completed in 1968.[3] It was at UCL that Land began his research into human and animal vision.

Academic career

After completing his PhD at UCL, where he had been an assistant lecturer in Physiology, in 1969 Land became assistant professor of Physiology at University of California, Berkeley. He returned to the UK in 1971, taking up a post as Lecturer in Neurobiology at the University of Sussex. Here he was appointed Reader in 1977. After being elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1982 he was appointed Professor in 1984. He was also a Senior Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University, Canberra from 1982 to 1984. In 1994 he received the Frink Medal of the Zoological Society of London, and in 1996 the Alcon Prize for vision research. Land retired from full time academic work in 2005 and is now Emeritus Professor of Neurobiology at Sussex.[3]


Land M.F., Tatler B.W. (2009) Looking and Acting: Vision and eye movements in natural behaviour. Oxford University Press, ISBN 0198570945.

Land M.F. (2007). Fixation strategies during active behaviour. A brief history. In: Eye movements: a window on mind and brain (eds. RPG van Gompel, M.H. Fischer, W.S. Murray, R.L. Hill) Chapter 4. Oxford: Elsevier, ISBN 0080449808.

Lim M.L.M., Land M.F., Li D. (2007). Sex-specific UV and fluorescence signals in jumping spiders. Science 315: 481

Kuhn G., Land M.F. (2006). There's more to magic than meets the eye! Current Biology 16: R950-R951

Land M.F., Nilsson D-E. (2006). General purpose and special purpose visual systems. In: Invertebrate vision (eds. D-E. Nilsson, E.J. Warrant) pp 167-210. Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0521830885.

Land M.F. (2006). Eye movements and the control of actions in everyday life. Progress in Retinal and Eye Research 25: 296-324

Land M.F. (2006). Visual optics: the shapes of pupils. Current Biology 16: R167-168

Land M.F. (2005). Eye-hand coordination: learning a new trick. Current Biology 16: R995-956

Land M.F. (2005). Q & A. Current Biology 15: R280-R281.

Land M.F. (2005). The optical structures of animal eyes. Current Biology 15: R319-R323.

Land MF, Horwood J (2005). Different retina-lamina projections in mosquitoes with fused and open rhabdoms. J. Comp. Physiol A (on line 04.05).

Tatler B.W., Gilchrist I.D., Land M.F. (2005). Visual memory for objects in natural scenes: From fixations to object files. Quart. J. Exp. Psych. 58A (on line 10/04))

Land M.F. (2004). Eyes and vision: in: The Crustacea vol 1. (eds. Forest J., Vaupel Klein J.C. von). pp 257-299. Leiden: Brill Publishers, ISBN 9004129189.

Land M.F. (2004). Nocturnal vision: bees in the dark. Current Biology 14: R615-616.

Land M.F. (2004). The coordination of rotations of the eyes, head and trunk in saddadic turns made in natural situations. Experimental Brain Research 159: 151-160.

Mathger L.M., Land M.F., Siebeck U.E., Marshall N.J. (2003). Rapid colour change in multilayer reflecting stripes in the paradise whiptail, Pentapodus paradiseus. J. Exp. Biol. 206: 3607-3613

Land M.F. (2003). Eye movements in daily life. In: The Visual Neurosciences (eds L.M. Chalupa, J.S. Werner) chapter 91. Cambridge MA: MIT Press, ISBN 0262033089.

Kleinlogel S., Marshall N.J., Horwood J.M., Land M.F. (2003) Neuroarchitecture of the color and polarization vision system of the stomatopod Haptosquilla. J. Comp. Neurol. 467: 326-342

Land M.F. (2003) The spatial resolution of the pinhole eyes of giant clams (Tridacna maxima). Proc. R. Soc. B 270: 185-188

Land M.F., Nilsson D-E. (2001) Animal Eyes. Oxford University Press, ISBN 0198509685.

Land M.F., Tatler B.W. (2001) Steering with the head: the visual strategy of a racing driver. Current Biology 11: 1215-1220

Land M.F., Hayhoe M. (2001) In what ways do eye movements contribute to everyday activities. Vision Research 41: 3559-3565

Land M.F., McLeod P. (2000) From eye movements to actions: how batsmen hit the ball. Nature Neuroscience 3: 1340-1345

Land M.F. (2000) On the functions of double eyes in mid-water animals. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B 355: 1147-1150

Land M.F., Mennie N., Rusted J. (1999) The roles of vision and eye movements in the control of activities of daily living. Perception 28: 1311-1328

Land M.F., Gibson, G., Horwood, J. and Zeil, J. (1999) Fundamental differences in the optical structure of the eyes of nocturnal and diurnal mosquitoes. J. Comp. Physiol. 185: 91-103.

Land M.F. (1999) Motion and vision: why animals move their eyes. J. Comp. Physiol. 185: 341-352

Dacke M., Nilsson D-E, Warrant E.J., Blest A.D., Land M.F., O'Carroll D.C. (1999) Built-in polarizers form part of a compass organ in spiders. Nature 401: 470-473.

Land M.F. (1998) The visual control of steering. In: Vision and Action (eds Harris L.R. & Jenkin K.) 163-180. Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0521631629.


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