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Friday, 29 June, 2012

Photonic Crystal Light Collectors in Fish Retina Improve Vision in Turbid Water

Moritz Kreysing, Roland Pusch, Dorothee Haverkate, Meik Landsberger, Jacob Engelmann, Janina Ruiter, Carlos Mora-Ferrer, Elke Ulbricht, Jens Grosche, Kristian Franze, Stefan Streif, Sarah Schumacher, Felix Makarov, Johannes Kacza, Jochen Guck, Hartwig Wolburg, James K. Bowmaker, Gerhard von der Emde, Stefan Schuster, Hans-Joachim Wagner, Andreas Reichenbach, and Mike Francke -
Science,DOI:10.1126/science.1218072, 29 June 2012: 336 (6089), 1700-1703.

Despite their diversity, vertebrate retinae are specialized to maximize either photon catch or visual acuity. Here, we describe a functional type that is optimized for neither
purpose. In the retina of the elephantnose fish (Gnathonemus petersii), cone photoreceptors are grouped together within reflecting, photonic crystal–lined cups acting as macroreceptors, but rod photoreceptors are positioned behind these reflectors. This unusual arrangement matches rod and cone sensitivity for detecting color-mixed stimuli, whereas the photoreceptor grouping renders the fish insensitive to spatial noise; together, this enables more reliable flight reactions in the fish’s dim and turbid habitat as compared with fish lacking this retinal specialization.

Article on journal's website