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Sunfish Shows the Way Through the Fog

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Science  03 May 1996:
Vol. 272, Issue 5262, pp. 653
DOI: 10.1126/science.272.5262.653


Anyone who has driven in heavy fog knows how difficult it is to see things clearly in a medium that scatters light. Yet fish appear to move with ease through a dense aquatic fog of swirling algae, plankton, sand, dirt, and all sorts of plant and animal debris. Now, after studying the retina of the green sunfish (Lepomis cyanellus), researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, think they know how this creature, at least, accomplishes the feat. And they are trying to copy the sunfish's presumed strategy, known as polarization difference imaging, to improve the vision of cameras in murky conditions.