Browsing by Subject "DARK NOISE"

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  • Donner, Kristian; Yovanovich, Carola (2020)
    From the mid-19th century until the 1980's, frogs and toads provided important research models for many fundamental questions in visual neuroscience. In the present century, they have been largely neglected. Yet they are animals with highly developed vision, a complex retina built on the basic vertebrate plan, an accessible brain, and an experimentally useful behavioural repertoire. They also offer a rich diversity of species and life histories on a reasonably restricted physiological and evolutionary background. We suggest that important insights may be gained from revisiting classical questions in anurans with state-of-the-art methods. At the input to the system, this especially concerns the molecular evolution of visual pigments and photoreceptors, at the output, the relation between retinal signals, brain processing and behavioural decision-making.
  • Yovanovich, Carola A. M.; Koskela, Sanna M.; Nevala, Noora; Kondrashev, Sergei L.; Kelber, Almut; Donner, Kristian (2017)
    The presence of two spectrally different kinds of rod photoreceptors in amphibians has been hypothesized to enable purely rod-based colour vision at very low light levels. The hypothesis has never been properly tested, so we performed three behavioural experiments at different light intensities with toads (Bufo) and frogs (Rana) to determine the thresholds for colour discrimination. The thresholds of toads were different in mate choice and prey-catching tasks, suggesting that the differential sensitivities of different spectral cone types as well as task-specific factors set limits for the use of colour in these behavioural contexts. In neither task was there any indication of rod-based colour discrimination. By contrast, frogs performing phototactic jumping were able to distinguish blue from green light down to the absolute visual threshold, where vision relies only on rod signals. The remarkable sensitivity of this mechanism comparing signals from the two spectrally different rod types approaches theoretical limits set by photon fluctuations and intrinsic noise. Together, the results indicate that different pathways are involved in processing colour cues depending on the ecological relevance of this information for each task. This article is part of the themed issue 'Vision in dim light'.
  • Yovanovich, Carola A. M.; Koskela, Sanna M.; Nevala, Noora; Kondrashev, Sergei L.; Kelber, Almut; Donner, Kristian (The Royal Society of Chemistry, 2017)
    The presence of two spectrally different kinds of rod photoreceptors in amphibians has been hypothesized to enable purely rod-based colour vision at very low light levels. The hypothesis has never been properly tested, so we performed three behavioural experiments at different light intensities with toads (Bufo) and frogs (Rana) to determine the thresholds for colour discrimination. The thresholds of toads were different in mate choice and prey-catching tasks, suggesting that the differential sensitivities of different spectral cone types as well as task-specific factors set limits for the use of colour in these behavioural contexts. In neither task was there any indication of rod-based colour discrimination. By contrast, frogs performing phototactic jumping were able to distinguish blue from green light down to the absolute visual threshold, where vision relies only on rod signals. The remarkable sensitivity of this mechanism comparing signals from the two spectrally different rod types approaches theoretical limits set by photon fluctuations and intrinsic noise. Together, the results indicate that different pathways are involved in processing colour cues depending on the ecological relevance of this information for each task. This article is part of the themed issue 'Vision in dim light'.