SICB Annual Meeting 2017
January 4-8, 2017
New Orleans, LA

Symposium: Low Spatial Resolution Vision - Function and Evolution

Light carries a vast amount of information about the surroundings and photoreception is thus a wide spread and import sense in animals. The quality and amount of information taken up by the animal dependent on the type and complexity of the receptors used. The simplest type of photoreception is based on naked photoreceptors without directionality and thus also without spatial resolution. They are typically used to measure the ambient light intensities often used to control diurnal behaviours and timing of spawning events. The most advanced photoreception happens in camera type eyes found in vertebrates and cephalopods. These eyes take up large amounts of information normally with a high spatial resolution in the range of a few minutes of an arc or better. Human vision is a good example of this. These to extremes are those that have received the most attention but a large number of animals have eyes in between, which form images but with low spatial resolution – here defined as a resolution of 3-4 degrees or worse. For a long period of time this type of vision has been greatly understudied and little was known about the functionality of such eyes and what behaviors they support, especially outside arthropods. But during the last decade several important studies have been conducted revealing general trends and principles within low spatial resolution vision. Importantly, these results come from a phylogenetically broad range of animals now allowing conclusions taking a comparative approach. It has been documented that eyes supporting only low spatial resolution and thus relatively sparse information uptake can still support complex behaviors such as motion detection, navigation, habitat recognition and predator detection e.g. achieved through clever matched filters. Further, some of the most resent theories of eye evolution, which considers the selection pressures driving different functional levels of vision, include low spatial resolution vision as a very important step for understanding eye evolution in general.

This symposium on low spatial resolution vision has presentations from many of the labs where the recent discoveries come from and this ensures highly interesting cutting edge talks. As evident from the titles listed below several aspects of low spatial resolution will be covered with examples from several different animal phyla.

Even though the symposium is on a rather well-defined topic it includes talks spanning from theoretic studies to highly experimental studies including many different techniques and study animals. It should be appealing, therefore, to a broad and diverse audience of biologist interested in general zoology, functional morphology, animal behaviour, and neurobiology.

Sponsors: DIZ, DNB, AMS, TSC


  • Anders Garm, University of Copenhagen


S11-1 Sunday, Jan. 8, 08:00 NILSSON, Dan-E.: Behavioural drive and performance continuity: the why and how in eye evolution

S11-2 Sunday, Jan. 8, 08:30 SPEISER, D.I.: Function and evolution of the dispersed visual systems of bivalves and chitons

S11-3 Sunday, Jan. 8, 09:00 BOK, MJ*; NILSSON, D-E: From Many, One: Wiring the diverse distributed visual systems of fan worms

S11-4 Sunday, Jan. 8, 10:00 GARM, A*; PETIE, R; BEER, S; WENTZEL, C; HALL, M: Eyes and vision in starfish

S11-5 Sunday, Jan. 8, 10:30 STöCKL, Anna*; O\'CARROLL, David; WARRANT, Eric: Hawkmoths sacrifice spatial resolution to increase sensitivity in dim light.

S11-6 Sunday, Jan. 8, 11:00 GIRALDO, Y.M.*; DICKINSON, M.H.: Celestial Navigation in Drosophila

S11-7 Sunday, Jan. 8, 11:30 NARENDRA, A*; KAMHI, JF; SHEEHAN, Z: Behavioural and neural adaptations in ants for navigating in dim light

S11-8 Sunday, Jan. 8, 13:30 THOEN, Hanne H.*; STRAUSFELD, Nicholas; MARSHALL, Justin: Pathways Underlying Colour and Polarisation Processing in Stomatopods

S11-9 Sunday, Jan. 8, 14:00 STEWART, Finlay J*; KINOSHITA, Michiyo; ARIKAWA, Kentaro: Colour and motion vision in a tetrachromatic butterfly

S11-10 Sunday, Jan. 8, 14:30 CRONIN, T.W.*; LIN, C.: Crustacean larvae - vision in the plankton

S11-11 Sunday, Jan. 8, 15:00 STAHL, Aaron; COOK, Tiffany A; BUSCHBECK, Elke K*: A complex lens for a complex eye: lens composition in diving beetle larval eyes