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Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience

 

Research

My main research focus is the structure, function and evolution of the vertebrate auditory system, which I investigate using techniques such as micro-CT scanning. I then use models of middle ear function to investigate the likely hearing range of the animal in question, in order to answer questions about how hearing is matched to particular acoustical properties of the environment that the animal lives in, and how the ear might have evolved. 

I have long been interested in how small mammals can be adapted towards detecting low-frequency sound. For example, certain elephant shrews have enormously enlarged middle ear cavities, which allow these ears to transmit low-frequency airborne sound, while golden moles have massive ear ossicles, which may allow these burrowing African mammals to detect ground vibrations by means of bone conduction. 

Recently I've become interested in certain other areas of comparative physiology, including fluorescence in frogs and nasal turbinate structure in seals.

Publications

Key publications: 

Mason, M.J., Wenger, L.M.D., Hammer, Ø. & Blix, A.S. (2020) Structure and function of respiratory turbinates in phocid sealsPolar Biology 43: 157-173.

Basso, A.P., Sidorkewicj, N.S., Casanave, E.B., Mason, M.J. (2020) The middle ear of the pink fairy armadillo Chlamyphorus truncatus (Xenarthra, Cingulata, Chlamyphoridae): comparison with armadillo relatives using computed tomographyJournal of Anatomy 236: 809-826.

Goutte, S., Mason, M.J. et al. (2019) Intense bone fluorescence reveals hidden patterns in pumpkin toadlets. Scientific Reports 9 (5388): 1-8.

Goutte, S., Mason, M.J. et al. (2017) Evidence of auditory insensitivity to vocalization frequencies in two frogs. Scientific Reports 7 (12121): 1-9.

Mason, M.J. (2016) Structure and function of the mammalian middle ear. I: Large middle ears in small desert mammals. Journal of Anatomy 228: 284-299.

Mason, M.J. (2016) Structure and function of the mammalian middle ear. II: Inferring function from structure. Journal of Anatomy 228: 300-312.

Mason, M.J., Cornwall, H.L. & Smith, E.S. (2016) Ear structures of the naked mole-rat, Heterocephalus glaber, and its relatives (Rodentia: Bathyergidae). PLoS ONE 11(12): e0167079.

Other publications: 

Follow this link for a complete list of my publications:

Matthew Mason: publications

Teaching and Supervisions

Teaching: 

I teach in the Natural Sciences Tripos (1A Physiology of Organisms, 1B Physiology, part II PDN research projects) and the Medical & Veterinary Sciences Triposes (1A Homeostasis). I am usually Senior Examiner and/or Course Organiser for one or more of these courses.

I am the Robert Comline Fellow in Physiology at St Catharine's College, where I supervise and direct studies in physiological subjects.

Check out my YouTube teaching channel: www.hippomedics.com

Other Professional Activities

Full member of the Anatomical Society, the Physiological Society and Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology.

Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

University Physiologist
Robert Comline Fellow in Physiology, St Catharine's College

Contact Details

+44 (0) 1223 333829, Fax: +44 (0) 1223 333840
Email address: