SICB Annual Meeting 2018
January 3-7, 2018
San Francisco, CA

Symposium: Evolution in the dark: unifying understanding of eye loss

Symposium Description: The evolution of eye loss in subterranean, deep sea and nocturnal habitats has fascinated biologists since Darwin wrestled with it in On the Origin of Species. This phenomenon appears consistently throughout the animal kingdom, in groups as diverse as crustaceans, salamanders, gastropods, spiders and the well-known Mexican cave fish, but the nature, extent and evolutionary processes behind eye loss remain elusive. With the advantage of new molecular and developmental tools, eye loss has once again become the subject of intense research focus. The goal of this symposium will be to bring together a cross-disciplinary group of researchers working on the historic question, ‘how does eye loss evolve in the dark?’. The symposium will showcase new progress made in the diverse fields of molecular biology, phylogenetics, development, comparative anatomy, neurobiology, ecology and behaviour in a wide range of study organisms and habitats, and encourage the exchange of ideas between participants and discuss future directions for the field of eye loss.

Sponsors: SICB divisions DEDB, DEE, DIZ, DNB, DPCB, AMS, and TCS;


  • Lauren Sumner-Rooney, Museum für Naturkunde, Germany
  • Megan Porter, University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, USA


S3-1 Thursday, Jan. 4, 08:00 PORTER, ML: Eye reduction and loss – patterns across species and habitats

S3-2 Thursday, Jan. 4, 08:30 STERN, DB*; CRANDALL, KA: Convergent and Divergent Transcriptome Evolution in the Eyes of Blind Cave Crayfish

S3-3 Thursday, Jan. 4, 09:00 WILKINSON, Mark*; GARBOUT, Amin; MOHUN, Samantha M: The visual system of caecilian amphibians

S3-4 Thursday, Jan. 4, 09:30 EMERLING, CA: Regressed but not gone: Patterns of vision gene loss in blind mammals

S3-5 Thursday, Jan. 4, 10:30 MA, Li; CASTRANOVA, Daniel; WEINSTEIN, Brant M.; GORE, Aniket; JEFFERY, William R.*: Molecular Mechanism of Eye Loss in the Cavefish

S3-6 Thursday, Jan. 4, 11:00 MOJADDIDI, H; RE, C; PEREZ, J; TACDOL, A; FISER, Z; TRONTELJ, P; PROTAS, M*: Development and genetics of eye loss in the crustacean, Asellus aquaticus

S3-7 Thursday, Jan. 4, 11:30 TIERNEY, SM*; LANGILLE, B; HUMPHREYS, WF; AUSTIN, AD; COOPER, SJB: Massive parallel regression: genetic mechanisms for eye loss amongst subterranean diving beetles

S3-8 Thursday, Jan. 4, 13:30 PÉREZ-MORENO, JL*; BALÁZS, G; BRACKEN-GRISSOM, HD: Transcriptomic and epigenetic insights into the evolution of vision loss in cave-dweling crustaceans

S3-9 Thursday, Jan. 4, 14:00 RIVERA, AS*; ARENZ, AL; KOYAMA, KH; SAJUTHI, A; TSANG, S; CARRILLO-ZAZUETA, B; KIM, A; LIM, B: Gene regulation, heterochrony, and predation: An eco/evo/devo perspective on eye loss in an ostracod crustacean.

S3-10 Thursday, Jan. 4, 14:30 SUMNER-ROONEY, LH*; SIGWART, JD; SMITH, L; MCAFEE, J; WILLIAMS, ST: Repeated Eye Reduction Events Reveal Multiple Pathways to Loss in Deep-Sea Snails

S3-11 Thursday, Jan. 4, 15:00 SCHOENEMANN, B.: Evolution of eye reduction and loss in fossil arthropods

Complementary Session: Session 51, Session 63

Images courtesy of Mark Wilkinson, Brigitte Schoenemann, Chris Emerling, Meredith Protas, Simon Tierney, Bill Jeffery, Lauren Sumner-Rooney, Megan Porter and Gergely Balázs.