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A new look at eye design

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Samuel Eckmann.

An animal invests resources in an eye’s optics and photoreceptor array to meet behavioural needs economically. Thus eyes are adapted to meet these needs using designs that inspire physicists and engineers and provide opportunities for biologists to discover how complicated organs evolve. We take a new look at eye design by asking a question that is commonplace in engineering, but has not been addressed by biologists; how should the space, materials and energy invested in an eye be allocated to optics and photoreceptor array? To provide answers we develop a new cost:benefit approach that uses optical, geometrical and physiological constraints to link investments to an eye’s ability to capture information from light. Our models and data analysis show that eyes are configured efficiently. Photoreceptor costs dominate and influence the structure of the entire eye by competing with optics for resources.

This talk is part of the Computational Neuroscience series.

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