Publication: Biofluorescence in Catsharks (Scyliorhinidae): Fundamental Description and Relevance for Elasmobranch Visual Ecology

Gruber, D.F., Loew, E.R., Deheyn, D.D., Akkaynak, D., Gaffney, J.P., Smith, W.L., Davis, M.P., Stern, J.H., Pieribone, V.A., and Sparks, J.S. Nature: Scientific Reports 6:24751.

Biofluorescence was recently been found to be widespread in marine fishes, including catsharks. Here we found that catsharks are not only able to see the bright green biofluorescence they produce, but that they increase contrast of their glowing pattern when deep underwater. The study, conducted with a custom-built 'shark-eye' camera that simulates how the shark sees underwater, shows that fluorescence makes catsharks more visible to neighbors of the same species at the depths that they live and may aid in communication between one another. Further, phylogenetic investigations indicate that biofluorescence has evolved in the catsharks, stingrays, and carpetsharks. The repeated evolution of biofluorescence in elasmobranchs, coupled with a visual adaptation to detect it, highlights the potential importance of biofluorescence in elasmobranch behavior and biology. 


Collection Trip: Smith Lab in Taiwan

Leo Smith, Andy Bentley, Matthew Davis, and Matthew Girard joined Hans Ho and Ma-Wen Chun of the National Museum of Marine Biology and Aquarium and National Dong Hwa University for a collecting trip in Taiwan from 28 November to 7 December 2014

During this first international collecting trip for the Smith Lab at KU, we collected approximately 2,250 specimens, 335 species (87% new to KU), 215 genera (50% new to KU), and 130 families (25% new to KU).

It was a tremendous success and we are grateful to our hosts for their generosity!

University of Kansas, Biodiversity Institute, 1345 Jayhawk Blvd., Lawrence, KS 66045; 785.864.6874 ©2016 W.L. Smith