To prove that the structures behave as lenses, Aizenberg shined a light through the skeleton of the brittlestar Ophiocoma wendtii.
The view for the brittlestar, suspects Aizenberg, is "something like .
By studying the brittlestar
, we can learn about low-cost ways of forming single crystals in complex shapes at low temperatures.
Although the brittlestar
seems to have crystal-clear vision--it flees predators and scouts out places to hide--scientists assumed its arms were the reason.
The calcite microlenses expertly compensate for birefringence and spherical aberration - physical effects common in lenses that distort light - and scientists hope to mimic nature's success and design microlenses based on the brittlestar
These included sponges and invertebrates such as worms, crabs, shrimps and brittlestars
Macro-invertebrates present included squat lobster, Munida quadrispina; hermit crabs (Paguriidae); spot shrimp, Pandalus platyceros; bryozoans; hydroids; brachiopods; seawhips (Pennatulacea); seastars (Asteroidea); brittlestars
(Ophiuridae); sea urchins (Echinoidea); sea cucumbers (Holothuridae); and gastropods, in addition to the sponges.
Grenadiers, on the other hand, tended to be associated with brittlestars
Photographs and grab samples indicate a muddy bottom with brittlestars
The Irish Sea has lots of different habitats, including honeycomb reefs made up of living worms and muddy beds home to sea urchins, Dublin Bay prawns and brittlestars
Aizenberg previously led research teams that created the world's first micro-patterned crystals inspired by bioengineering, and discovered optical fibers in Euplectella sponges and unique biological optical receptors in brittlestars
bilineata taken off the coast of Oregon, brittlestars
of the genus Ophiura dominated the diet, and polychaetes and mollusks constituted much of the remainder (Kravitz et al.
Growth, fecundity and mortality rates of two intertidal brittlestars
(Echinodermata, Ophiuroidea) with contrasting modes of development.
Scientists from Lucent Technologies' (NYSE:LU) Bell Labs have discovered that chalk-like calcite crystals in the skeletons of marine creatures known as brittlestars
have a remarkable dual function, acting as armor as well as optical receptors for an all-seeing compound eye.
Lucy Kay, CCW marine conservation officer, added: 'At one site in a small area of sediment, just bigger than an A4 size sheet of paper, over 1,440 animals from 70 different species were found, including worms, small shrimp-like amphipods, small gastropods (relatives of snails), bivalve shells such as mussels and brittlestars
, a long-armed relative of the common starfish people are used to seeing on our shores