Visual ecology is the study of how animals use visual systems to meet their ecological needs, how these systems have evolved, and how they are specialized for particular visual tasks. Visual Ecology provides the first up-to-date synthesis of the field to appear in more than three decades. Featuring some 225 illustrations, including more than 140 in colour, spread throughout the text, this comprehensive and accessible book begins by discussing the basic properties of light and the optical environment. It then looks at how photoreceptors intercept light and convert it to usable biological signals, how the pigments and cells of vision vary among animals, and how the properties of these components affect a given receptor's sensitivity to light. Visual Ecology goes on to examine how eyes and photoreceptors become specialized for an array of visual tasks, such as navigation, evading prey, mate choice, and communication.
List of Illustrations ix
1 Introduction 1
2 Light and the Optical Environment 10
3 Visual Pigments and Photoreceptors 37
4 The Optical Building Blocks of Eyes 66
5 The Eye Designs of the Animal Kingdom 91
6 Spatial Vision 116
7 Color Vision 146
8 Polarization Vision 178
9 Vision in Attenuating Media 206
10 Motion Vision and Eye Movements 232
11 Vision in Dim Light 262
12 Visual Orientation and Navigation 289
13 Signals and Camouflage 313
General Index 383
Index of Names 401
Thomas W. Cronin is professor of biological sciences at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Sönke Johnsen is professor of biology at Duke University. N. Justin Marshall is professor of biomedical sciences at the University of Queensland in Australia. Eric J. Warrant is professor of zoology at Lund University in Sweden.
"Visual Ecology explores the idea that how we see is shaped, perhaps even determined, by what we see. And not just us – from lowly dung beetles to terrifying mantid shrimps to majestic birds of prey, the authors provide a breathtaking tour of the clever solutions that Nature has found to the physics problems involved in sensing the visual environment. A beautiful book for a beautiful subject."
– William Bialek, Princeton University
"Visual Ecology is the only current book of its kind. It provides the first comprehensive treatment of this important and rapidly evolving field in more than thirty years, and is a must-have for anyone interested in what vision is actually for."
– Dan-Eric Nilsson, coauthor of Animal Eyes
"This is an excellent summary of the principles and wonderful phenomena of visual ecology and sets the standard for future work."
– John A. Endler, author of Natural Selection in the Wild
"I have never enjoyed an academic text this much. This book is beautifully written. I read it cover to cover and I can honestly say I was never bored. Visual Ecology will undoubtedly become a classic."
– Ron Douglas, City University London