Publications:

Sparks et al. 2014


scientific article | PLoS ONE | open access

The covert world of fish biofluorescence: a phylogenetically widespread and phenotypically variable phenomenon

Sparks JS, Schelly RC, Smith WL, Davis MP, Tchernov D, Pieribone VA, Gruber DF


Abstract

The discovery of fluorescent proteins has revolutionized experimental biology. Whereas the majority of fluorescent proteins have been identified from cnidarians, recently several fluorescent proteins have been isolated across the animal tree of life. Here we show that biofluorescence is not only phylogenetically widespread, but is also phenotypically variable across both cartilaginous and bony fishes, highlighting its evolutionary history and the possibility for discovery of numerous novel fluorescent proteins. Fish biofluorescence is especially common and morphologically variable in cryptically patterned coralreef lineages. We identified 16 orders, 50 families, 105 genera, and more than 180 species of biofluorescent fishes. We have also reconstructed our current understanding of the phylogenetic distribution of biofluorescence for ray-finned fishes. The presence of yellow long-pass intraocular filters in many biofluorescent fish lineages and the substantive color vision capabilities of coral-reef fishes suggest that they are capable of detecting fluoresced light. We present species-specific emission patterns among closely related species, indicating that biofluorescence potentially functions in intraspecific communication and evidence that fluorescence can be used for camouflage. This research provides insight into the distribution, evolution, and phenotypic variability of biofluorescence in marine lineages and examines the role this variation may play.

Keywords
Meta-data

Mesophotic “mentions”
1 x (total of 4096 words)

Classification
* Presents original data
* Focused on `mesophotic` depth range
* Focused on `mesophotic coral ecosystem`

Fields
Ecology
Molecular ecology

Focusgroups
Fishes

Locations
Bahamas

Platforms
Rebreather
SCUBA (open-circuit or unspecified)

Author profiles