SICB Division of Ecology and Evolution (DEE)

DEE Researchers Database Entry

Alexander Cheroske

Color vision system of stomatopod crustaceans
Alexander Cheroske is a physiological ecologist whose work links organismal traits to ecological relationships in marine organisms. Most recently, Alex, together with collaborator Tom Cronin (University of Maryland, Baltimore County), worked with the color vision system of stomatopod crustaceans (also known as mantis shrimp)to show how these animals can physiologically adapt their color vision to better match the available spectrum of light in different coral reef habitats. Stomatopods likely have one of the most complex color vision systems of any animal with up to 10 different spectral classes of photoreceptor as well as photoreceptors sensitive to ultraviolet and polarized light. Phenotypically plastic changes in their color vision can be induced in a matter of weeks in both juvenile and adult animals and may allow these animals to discern conspecific color signals under variable photic conditions. Top panel: a tropical stomatopod (Gonodactylus smithii) exhibiting an aggressive posture where colorful eyespots are displayed. Middle panel: Alex and Tom measure the available spectrum of light at different depths off Lizard Island, Australia. Bottom panel: Relative absorbance of eight different color photoreceptors in G. smithii.