Is eye size related to genetics or environment?

Mar 13, 2013
Is eye size related to genetics or environment?

(Phys.org) —Researchers at The University of Western Australia in collaboration with the University of Queensland and the Australian Museum are trying to understand how fish see at depths.

In the deep sea, and particularly between 200m and 1km, eyes need to adapt to see in dark conditions and to see bioluminescence, a type of light emitted by the creatures themselves. One of the most common to increase sight at those depths is enlarged eyes.

According to a study published in the journal PLoS ONE, the relative size of the eye within the same family of deep-sea fishes, the lanternfishes, does not seem to be directly linked to the amount of light present in their environment but to "genealogy".

Lead author neuroecology PhD student Fanny de Busserolles of UWA's Oceans Institute and the School of Animal Biology, said that the results were quite surprising because they were expecting to find a relationship between eye size and either depth and/or the amount of light emitted by each species.

"These results show that there is a lot more to learn and exciting results to discover from this extreme and mysterious environment that is the deep-sea.

"This study represents an important contribution to our understanding of how both the and the of a species can influence the visual system of deep-sea fish," Ms de Busserolles said.

However, more work is needed to fully understand the evolutionary drivers that shape the visual system of the large biodiversity of organisms in the deep-sea.

The research was funded by the Australian Research Council and the Western Australian State Government.

This is the first study to examine variability in eye-size within the same family of using representatives of more than 50% of the recognised members of the same .

Explore further: Study reveals tiger shark movements around Maui and Oahu

More information: www.plosone.org/article/info%3… journal.pone.0058519

Related Stories

Deep-sea diversity surprises researchers

Mar 27, 2012

Scientists have shed new light on the evolution of deep-sea creatures by looking at the genes of one shrimp-like species, rather than their physical characteristics.

Creatures from the deep exposed

Mar 11, 2011

An academic from the University of Plymouth has helped unravel the largely unexplored weird and wonderful world of deep-sea marine life.

Recommended for you

Dogs hear our words and how we say them

7 hours ago

When people hear another person talking to them, they respond not only to what is being said—those consonants and vowels strung together into words and sentences—but also to other features of that speech—the ...

Amazonian shrimps: An underwater world still unknown

8 hours ago

A study reveals how little we know about the Amazonian diversity. Aiming to resolve a scientific debate about the validity of two species of freshwater shrimp described in the first half of the last century, ...

Factors that drive sexual traits

9 hours ago

Many male animals have multiple displays and behaviours to attract females; and often the larger or greater the better.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.