a branch of biology that studies the aggregate of phenomena associated with the use by living organisms of light for orientation. Bio-optics embraces a range of questions usually considered by morphology, physiology (including neurophysiology), optics, ecology, and ethology.

Definite orientation to a light source is peculiar not only to animals but to plants and protozoans; some protozoans have specialized organs for perceiving light. In highly developed animals, the eye perceives not only light but also objects. Eyes can be constructed according to different principles. Insects and crustaceans have a compound faceted eye consisting of many ommatidia. In the chambered eyes of vertebrate animals, cephalopod mollusks, spiders, and some worms, the optical elements—cornea and crystalline lens— create an image on the light-sensitive back of the eye. In the eye of a scallop, an image is created by a concave “mirror” situated behind light-sensitive elements. Important qualities characterizing the eye as a photoreceptor include its resolving power, accommodation apparatus, absolute sensitivity, and color discrimination. Besides the structure and function of the optic receptor and neural mechanisms of the eye and visual centers of animals, bio-optics studies light signals as visually perceived means of intraspecific and interspecific communications and signaling of organisms; signal coloration; language of positions, gestures, and facial expressions; preventive and repellant colors, shapes, and behavior of animals; and the attracting coloration of flowers, fruits, and berries. Optical signals play an exceedingly important role in many situations that require coordinated actions on the part of animals—in life within a flock, in the coordination of the behavior of nuptial partners, parents and offspring; and so on. The possibilities of using the visual apparatus and its properties are related to the characteristics of the habitat, such as the intensity and spectral composition of light and also the transparency of the air or water.


Mazokhin-Porshniakov, G. A. Zrenie nasekomykh. Moscow, 1965.
Protasov, V. R. Zrenie i blizhniaia orientatsiia ryb. Moscow, 1968.
Tinbergen, N. Povedenie zhivotnykh. Moscow, 1969. (Translated from English.)


References in periodicals archive ?
17 /PRNewswire/ -- Looking to capitalize on the rapidly growing market for optical technologies and instrumentation in the life sciences, PennWell Corporation (Nashua, NH) announces its latest venture, Bio-Optics World.
Comprising a bi-monthly magazine, monthly eNewsletter, and website (with daily news, products, application notes, web casts, and more), Bio-Optics World will focus on the design, development, and utilization of optical technologies for the study, diagnosis, and treatment of disease and disease processes.
The goal of Bio-Optics World is to provide engineers, biologists, researchers, and clinicians with a magazine and website that will facilitate the sharing of ideas among these disciplines," said Christine Shaw, Group Publisher & Sr.
Specific markets and applications to be covered in Bio-Optics World include molecular imaging, cancer diagnostics, spectroscopy, microscopy, cytometry, OTC, optical trapping, biosensing, microfluidics, cell biology, chemical analysis, genomics, proteomics, drug discovery, and tissue engineering.
Zakir Hussain, VP of Cranes Software, comments, "Our association with BRO will increase our product portfolio especially in scientific and engineering areas such as automotive lighting, bio-optics, and imaging system design.
The Lokey labs will contain more than 20 ultra-high-precision metrology, probe, lithography and bio-optics instruments not generally available except at major scientific facilities.
The tissue modeling capabilities of ASAP, when coupled with the ability of the software to handle complex geometries such as the human bladder, make it an ideal tool for medical and bio-optics research," said Paul Holcomb, a BRO biomedical engineer developing bio-centric plug-ins for ASAP.
In addition to semiconductor, photolithography, nanofabrication and bio-optics labs, the center will house more than 20 high-technology instruments operated by the university's Center for Advanced Materials Characterization in Oregon (CAMCOR) and will provide laboratory space for industry partners.