Large and powerful predators such as swordfishes, tunas, and many sharks are unique among fishes in that they possess physiological mechanisms that warm their eyes. A new investigation reported this week sheds important light on the purpose of warming the eyes and the advantage that "warm eyes" confer on ocean predators.
Swordfishes, which hunt in water as cold as 3°C (about 37°F), can maintain their brain and eye temperatures 10°C–15°C (18°F –27°F) above ambient temperatures by using a specially adapted heating organ in muscle next to their eyes. The biological significance of this has been a mystery. Now, however, innovative research has shown that warm eyes allow swordfishes to process visual information more than 10 times more quickly than eyes cooled to the temperatures of deep-water environments.
Ship-board experiments by Kerstin Fritsches of the University of Queensland, Richard Brill of the National Marine Fisheries Service, and Eric Warrant of the University of Lund focused on electroretinogram recordings of freshly caught swordfishes. These established that higher eye temperatures maintain the speed of the retinas response to stimuli. Using temperatures and light intensities aligned with swordfishes dive profiles, the team showed that by heating their eyes, swordfishes retain the ability to spot quickly moving objects, allowing them to intercept rapid and elusive prey.
Multi-institutional collaboration uncovers how molecular machines assemble
02.12.2016 | Salk Institute
Fertilized egg cells trigger and monitor loss of sperm’s epigenetic memory
02.12.2016 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
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