Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Photon hunting in the twilight zone: Visual features of bioluminescent sharks

Date:
August 6, 2014
Source:
PLOS
Summary:
The eyes of deep-sea bioluminescent sharks have a higher rod density when compared to non-bioluminescent sharks, according to a new study. This adaptation is one of many these sharks use to produce and perceive bioluminescent light in order to communicate, find prey, and camouflage themselves against predators.

This is the eye of a velvet belly lanternshark.
Credit: Dr. J. Mallefet (FNRS/UCL); CC-BY

The eyes of deep-sea bioluminescent sharks have a higher rod density when compared to non-bioluminescent sharks, according to a study published August 6, 2014 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Julien M. Claes, postdoctoral researcher from the FNRS at Universitι catholique de Louvain (Belgium), and colleagues. This adaptation is one of many these sharks use to produce and perceive bioluminescent light in order to communicate, find prey, and camouflage themselves against predators.

Related Articles


The mesopelagic twilight zone, or about 200-1000 meters deep in the sea, is a vast, dim habitat, where, with increasing depth, sunlight is progressively replaced by point-like bioluminescent emissions. To better understand strategies used by bioluminescent predators inhabiting this region that help optimize photon capture, the authors of this study analyzed the eye shape, structure, and retinal cell mapping in the visual systems of five deep-sea bioluminescent sharks, including four Lanternsharks (Etmopteridae) and one kitefin shark (Dalatiidae).

The researchers found that the sharks' eyes contained a translucent area present in the upper eye orbit of the lantern sharks, which might aid in adjusting counter-illumination, or in using bioluminescence to camouflage the fish. They also found several ocular specializations, such as a gap between the lens and iris that allows extra light to the retina, which was previously unknown in sharks. Comparisons with previous data on non-bioluminescent sharks reveals that bioluminescent sharks possess higher rod densities in their eyes, which might provide them with improved temporal resolution, particularly useful for bioluminescent communication during social interactions.

"Every bioluminescent signal needs to reach a target photoreceptor to be ecologically efficient. Here, we clearly found evidence that the visual system of bioluminescent sharks has co-evolved with their light-producing capability, even though more work is needed to understand the full story," said Dr. Claes.

These results reveal an unexpected diversity of photon capture strategies and indicate that like other deep-sea animals, deep-sea sharks possess a number of adaptations to cope with the twilight zone.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Julien M. Claes, Julian C. Partridge, Nathan S. Hart, Eduardo Garza-Gisholt, Hsuan-Ching Ho, Jιrτme Mallefet, Shaun P. Collin. Photon Hunting in the Twilight Zone: Visual Features of Mesopelagic Bioluminescent Sharks. PLoS ONE, 2014; 9 (8): e104213 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0104213

Cite This Page:

PLOS. "Photon hunting in the twilight zone: Visual features of bioluminescent sharks." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 August 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140806142203.htm>.
PLOS. (2014, August 6). Photon hunting in the twilight zone: Visual features of bioluminescent sharks. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140806142203.htm
PLOS. "Photon hunting in the twilight zone: Visual features of bioluminescent sharks." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140806142203.htm (accessed January 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How To: Mixed Green Salad Topped With Camembert Cheese

How To: Mixed Green Salad Topped With Camembert Cheese

Rumble (Jan. 26, 2015) — Learn how to make a mixed green salad topped with a pan-seared camembert cheese in only a minute! Music: Courtesy of Audio Network. Video provided by Rumble
Powered by NewsLook.com
Water Fleas Prepare for Space Voyage

Water Fleas Prepare for Space Voyage

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 26, 2015) — Scientists are preparing a group of water fleas for a unique voyage into space. The aquatic crustaceans, known as Daphnia, can be used as a miniature model for biomedical research, and their reproductive and swimming behaviour will be tested for signs of stress while on board the International Space Station. Jim Drury went to meet the team. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Husky Puppy Plays With Ferret

Husky Puppy Plays With Ferret

Rumble (Jan. 26, 2015) — It looks like this 2-month-old Husky puppy and the family ferret are going to be the best of friends. Look at how much fun they&apos;re having together! Credit to &apos;Vira&apos;. Video provided by Rumble
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Model Flying, Walking Drone After Vampire Bats

Scientists Model Flying, Walking Drone After Vampire Bats

Buzz60 (Jan. 26, 2015) — Swiss scientists build a new drone that can both fly and walk, modeling it after the movements of common vampire bats. Jen Markham (@jenmarkham) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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