Does new technology inspire new directions? Examples drawn from pelagic visual ecology.
Oceanography has seen the recent development of many new tools and techniques. The subfield of pelagic visual ecology in particular has benefited from the development of more reliable, portable, and economic tools and techniques that can be taken to sea including spectrometers, microspectrophotometery, electroretinography, and ultraviolet and polarization imaging systems. These advances have led to a relative wealth of data on the visual physiology of pelagic species and on the optical properties of these species and their environment. These data, particularly in combination with computational methods, have tested long-standing hypotheses in pelagic ecology and led to new hypotheses and research directions. While the ability to study pelagic species still lags far behind what is possible in terrestrial and coastal environments, a renaissance may be developing in the study of the integrative biology of pelagic species.
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