Polarisation vision

Marshall, Justin and Cronin, Thomas W. (2011) Polarisation vision. Current Biology, 21 3: R101-R105. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2010.12.012

Author Marshall, Justin
Cronin, Thomas W.
Title Polarisation vision
Language of Title eng
Journal name Current Biology   Check publisher's open access policy
Language of Journal Name eng
ISSN 0960-9822
Publication date 2011-02-08
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.cub.2010.12.012
Volume 21
Issue 3
Start page R101
End page R105
Total pages 5
Place of publication Cambridge, MA, United States
Publisher Cell Press
Collection year 2012
Language eng
Abstract Putting on a pair of polarised sunglasses is as close as most of us get to seeing polarised light. Photographers also use polarising filters and, in both cases, the reason for placing such filters in front of eye or camera is to reduce glare and increase contrast within the image or scene viewed. Animal visual systems also utilise polarised light for these purposes, along with navigation, sexual signalling and detecting water. They rarely, if ever, use optical filters to achieve polarisation sensitivity; instead it is an intrinsic property of their photoreceptors. Linear polarising sensitivity is common in the animal kingdom, particularly in invertebrates such as arthropods (insects, crustaceans and spiders) and cephalopods. Linear polarising sensitivity is also known in vertebrates, including fish, birds and a few amphibians and reptiles. In truth, this ability is probably more widespread than we think, and in the cephalopods and many crustaceans it may replace colour vision. While circular polarising photography — used for cancer detection in medical imaging and for (explosive) mine detection underwater — might be considered an obscure man-made optical trick, some animals also have circular polarising sensitivity. Before going on to describe how and why animals utilise polarised light, we briefly examine what polarised light is, why it is called linear or circular, where it comes from and where it is frequently found in natural environments (Figure 1).
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Queensland Brain Institute Publications
Official 2012 Collection
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 13 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 10 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Mon, 12 Mar 2012, 10:29:33 EST by Debra McMurtrie on behalf of Queensland Brain Institute