Modern daytime birds either have violet sensitive or ultraviolet sensitive vision. Being ultraviolet sensitive alters visual cues used to select a mate, avoiding predators, and in finding food. Researchers from Uppsala University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences sequenced the genes responsible for producing the light sensitive pigment (SWS1 opsin) from 40 species of birds, in 29 families.
Generating a phylogenetic tree from these sequences shows that there have been at least 14 shifts between violet and ultraviolet sensitive colour vision and back. An ancestor of Passeriformes (perching birds including larks, swallows, blackbirds, finches, birds of paradise, and crows) and Psittaciformes (parrots and allies) changed from the ancestral violet sensitive colour vision to ultraviolet and, in some cases passerines have reverted back to violet vision.
Anders Ödeen and Olle Håstad, who performed this research commented, "There are two different amino acid alterations that can each change bird colour vision from violet to ultraviolet. One particular single nucleotide change has occurred at least 11 separate times. In general during evolution once a colour shift has occurred all species from this ancestor keep it meaning that the rest of the eye and physiology, must also evolved to 'cement' in the new colour sensitivity."
Media ContactDr Hilary Glover
Article citation and URL available on request on the day of publication.
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Hilary Glover | EurekAlert!
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Physicists from Saarland University and the ESPCI in Paris have shown how liquids on solid surfaces can be made to slide over the surface a bit like a bobsleigh on ice. The key is to apply a coating at the boundary between the liquid and the surface that induces the liquid to slip. This results in an increase in the average flow velocity of the liquid and its throughput. This was demonstrated by studying the behaviour of droplets on surfaces with different coatings as they evolved into the equilibrium state. The results could prove useful in optimizing industrial processes, such as the extrusion of plastics.
The study has been published in the respected academic journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America).
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