Assessing the Fitness of Visual Pigments for their Photic Environments
In the dictionary sense a pigment is a substance that is coloured to the human eye. Colour is so striking a sensation that it was once thought to be an attribute of the “coloured” substance itself. The appearance of an object, however, depends not only on the inherent properties of the object, and the sensorium of the organism that perceives it, but on the nature of the light that illuminates it. In a certain respect, however, we can relate the colour of a substance to a physical attribute, and that is by its absorption spectrum. This is a mathematical concept expressing the variation with wavelength of the ability to absorb light. Apart from white, grey and black pigments, which absorb all wavelengths equally (the white not at all, the grey a constant fraction, and the black completely) pigments absorb light selectively and characteristically.
KeywordsAbsorbance Spectrum Solar Irradiance Visual Pigment Spectral Irradiance Active Pigment
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Clarke, G.L. and Denton, E.J. (1962). Light and animal Life. In: The sea, Vol. 1, Physical oceanography, edited by M.N. Hill. Interscience, New York.Google Scholar
- Denton, E.J., Gilpin-Brown, J.B. and Wright, P.G. (1970). On the “filters” in the photophores of mesopelagic fish and on a fish emitting red light and especially sensitive to red light. J. Physiol. (London) 208: 72–73.Google Scholar
- Hamdorf, K., Paulsen, R. and Schwemer, J. (1973). Photoregeneration and sensitivity control of photoreceptors of invertebrates. In: Biochemistry and physiology of visual pigments, edited by H. Langer. Springer-Verlag, New York.Google Scholar
- Jerlov, N.G. (1968). Optical oceanography. Elsevier, New York.Google Scholar
- Lythgoe, J.N. (1966). Visual pigments and underwater vision. In: Light as an ecological factor, edited by R. Bainbridge, G.C. Evans and O. Rackham. Blackwell, Oxford.Google Scholar
- Lythgoe, J.N. (1972). The adaptation of visual pigments to the photic environment. In: Handbook of sensory physiology, Vol. VII/1, edited by H.J.A. Dartnall. Springer-Verlag, New York.Google Scholar
- Nicol, J.A.C. (1962). Animal luminescence. Adv. Comp. Physiol. Biochem. 217–273.Google Scholar
- Tyler, J.E. and Smith, R.C. (1970). Measurements of spectral irradiance underwater. Gordon and Breach, New York.Google Scholar
- Wald, G. (1959). Life and light. Sci. Amer. (Oct) 92–108.Google Scholar
- Wyszecki, G. and Stiles, W.S. (1967). Colour science. Concepts and methods, quantitative data and formulas. Wiley, New York.Google Scholar