Visual pigments of Baltic Sea fishes of marine and limnic origin

Mirka Jokela-Määttä, Teemu Smura, Anna Aaltonen, Petri Ala-Laurila, Kristian Donner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


"Absorbance spectra of rods and some cones were measured by microspectrophotometry in 22 fish species from the brackish-water of the Baltic Sea, and when applicable, in the same species from the Atlantic Ocean (3 spp.), the Mediterranean Sea (I sp.), or Finnish fresh-water lakes (9 spp.). The main purpose was to study whether there were differences suggesting spectral adaptation of rod vision to different photic environments during the short history (< 10(4) years) of postglacial isolation of the Baltic Sea and the Finnish lakes. Rod absorbance spectra of the Baltic subspecies /populations of herring (Clupea harengus membras), flounder (Platichthys flesus), and sand goby (Poinatoschistus minutus) were all long-wavelength-shifted (9.8, 1.9, and 5.3 nm, respectively, at the wavelength of maximum absorbance, A,,,) compared with their truly marine counterparts, consistent with adaptation for improved quantum catch, and improved signal-to-noise ratio of vision in the Baltic light environment. Judged by the shape of the spectra, the chromophore was pure A I in all these cases; hence the differences indicate evolutionary tuning of the opsin. In no species of fresh-water origin did we find significant opsin-based spectral shifts specific to the Baltic populations, only spectral differences due to varying A1/A2 chromophore ratio in some. For most species, rod Am fell within a wavelength range consistent with high signal-to-noise ratio of vision in the spectral conditions prevailing at depths where light becomes scarce in the respective waters. Exceptions were sandeels in the Baltic Sea, which are active only in bright light, and all species in a ""brown"" lake, where rod lambda(max) lay far below the theoretically optimal range."
Original languageEnglish
JournalVisual Neuroscience
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)389-398
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2007
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 1184 Genetics, developmental biology, physiology

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