The evolution of dim light vision in vertebrates (2005–2007)
The visual system of vertebrates including humans is designed to operate under both dim and bright light conditions over a 10 log unit range of illumination. Two types of visual cells (rod and cone photoreceptors) mediate this ability and provide the visual system with high sensitivity and colour vision respectively. Nothing is currently known about the evolution of rod-based vision despite important implications on species survival and our understanding of basic concepts of photoreception and plasticity. This multidisciplinary project will establish the origin of dim (rod-based) vision using anatomical physiological biochemical and molecular techniques by examining the early vertebrates (agnathans elasmobranchs and early fishes).