Transparent animals

Sönke Johnsen, Ph.D.
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Wednesday, October 27, 1999
3:00 p.m.—Pacific Forum

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                                                        © EWidder/HBOI

A large percentage of oceanic zooplankton are transparent, some achieving almost complete invisibility, and it is generally assumed that transparency is an important method of camouflage in the optically featureless open-ocean environment. However, despite the prevalence and presumed ecological importance of transparency, little is known about this characteristic and how it is achieved.

This talk summarizes my research into the how and why of biological transparency and includes field measurements of transparency versus wavelength at visible and ultraviolet wavelengths, mathematical models of underwater visibility, and an analysis of the ultrastructure of transparent tissues from an optical perspective.

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Last updated: December 19, 2000