SICB Division of Ecology and Evolution (DEE)

DEE Researchers Database Entry

Sonke Johnsen

Visual ecology and magnetoreception of marine organisms
Our lab studies aspects of visual ecology. Recent and current projects include: the propagation of bioluminescent signals underwater, the visibility of aquatic animals, The relationship between tissue ultrastructure and transparency, the visual ecology of polarization vision, the effect of ultraviolet vision on predation, and optical sampling techniques for zooplankton. In addition, we do collaborative work on magnetoreception with Dr. Ken Lohmann at UNC, examining the anatomical basis of magnetoreception and the feasibility of navigation based on the earth's geomagnetic parameters. The guiding principle is that the species and methods used must serve the central question. Methods used include: protein biochemistry, electron and light microscopy, magnetic resonance imaging, behavioral studies, net sampling, submersible operations, SCUBA diving, optical measurements of tissue and environment, and mathematical modeling. Marine pelagic species have been a strong focus, but benthic, freshwater and terrestrial systems have also been examined.