Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Sea urchins see with their whole body

Date:
September 12, 2011
Source:
University of Gothenburg
Summary:
Many animals have eyes that are incredibly complex -- others manage without. Researchers have now shown that sea urchins see with their entire body despite having no eyes at all.

Sea urchins see with their entire body despite having no eyes at all.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Gothenburg

Many animals have eyes that are incredibly complex -- others manage without. Researchers at the University of Gothenburg have shown that sea urchins see with their entire body despite having no eyes at all. The study has been published in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Most animals react to light and have developed a very sophisticated way of seeing complex images so that they can function in their surroundings. Good examples include insects' compound eyes and the human eye. Charles Darwin and other evolutionary biologists were bewildered by the eye's complexity and wondered how this kind of structure could have evolved through natural selection.

But some creatures, such as sea urchins, can react to light even though they do not have eyes. Previous studies of sea urchins have shown that they have a large number of genes linked to the development of the retina, which is the light-sensitive tissue in the human eye. This means that sea urchins have several genes that are coded for a widely occurring eye protein, opsin.

"It was this discovery that underpinned our research," says Sam Dupont from the University of Gothenburg's Department of Marine Ecology, one of the researchers behind the study and co-authors of the article. "We wanted to see where the opsin was located in sea urchins so that we could find the sensory light structures, or photoreceptors. We quite simply wanted to know where the sea urchin sees from."

The research group behind the study showed that the photoreceptors seem to be located on the tip and base of the tube feet that are found all over the sea urchin's body and are used to move.

"We argue that the entire adult sea urchin can act as a huge compound eye, and that the shadow that is cast by the animal's opaque skeleton over the light-sensitive cells can give it directional vision," says Dupont.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Gothenburg. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. E. M. Ullrich-Luter, S. Dupont, E. Arboleda, H. Hausen, M. I. Arnone. Unique system of photoreceptors in sea urchin tube feet. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2011; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1018495108

Cite This Page:

University of Gothenburg. "Sea urchins see with their whole body." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 September 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110630111538.htm>.
University of Gothenburg. (2011, September 12). Sea urchins see with their whole body. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110630111538.htm
University of Gothenburg. "Sea urchins see with their whole body." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110630111538.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Washington Wildlife Center Goes Nuts Over Baby Squirrels

Washington Wildlife Center Goes Nuts Over Baby Squirrels

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 30, 2014) An animal rescue in Washington state receives an influx of orphaned squirrels, keeping workers busy as they nurse them back to health. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Drug ZMapp Cures Lab Monkeys Of Disease

Experimental Ebola Drug ZMapp Cures Lab Monkeys Of Disease

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) In a new study, a promising experimental treatment for Ebola managed to cure a group of infected macaque monkeys. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins