Reflective properties of different eyespot types in dinoflagellates

Journal article

Publication Details

Author(s): Kreimer G
Journal: Protist
Publisher: Elsevier
Publication year: 1999
Volume: 150
Pages range: 311-323
ISSN: 1434-4610


The reflective properties of different types of dinoflagellate eyespots were investigated using confocal laser scanning microscopy in the epireflection contrast mode. Although the eyespots studied differed with respect to localization (cytosol or plastid) and organization of the globule layer(s), all types effectively absorbed and reflected blue-green laser light (principal lines of 488/514 nm). The relative orientation of the eyespot surface towards the light source strongly influenced the reflective properties. Maximal reflection occurred when the eyespot surface was approximately perpendicular to the light source and rapidly decreased at increasing angles of light incidence. Horizontal and vertical optical sectioning of live and fixed cells resolved differences in the reflection patterns. Focusing of reflected light on the basal portion of the longitudinal flagellum was observed for the cytosolic eyespot of Glenodinium sp. and the triple membrane-bounded eyespot of Peridinium foliaceum, presumably a vestige of a host plastid. This flagellum is thought to be mainly involved in mediating orientational movement responses. In contrast, the reflection patterns obtained from the eyespot of Woloszynskia pascheri, which represents the third and most commonly observed dinoflagellate eyespot type within a plastid, point to only minor focusing. Reflection signals could be followed a considerable distance into the sulcus in all cases, indicating that in dinoflagellate eyespots, irrespective of the presumed receptor location (plasma membrane overlying the eyespot and/or the basal part of the longitudinal flagellum), back reflection of non-absorbed light can enhance the excitation probability of the photoreceptor(s). Such a combined reflection/absorption screen allows maximal contrast modulation and will, in conjunction with the specialized geometry of the dinoflagellate eyespots, increase the directionality of these eyespot apparatuses considerably.

External institutions
Universität zu Köln

How to cite

Kreimer, G. (1999). Reflective properties of different eyespot types in dinoflagellates. Protist, 150, 311-323.

Kreimer, Georg. "Reflective properties of different eyespot types in dinoflagellates." Protist 150 (1999): 311-323.


Last updated on 2018-08-08 at 18:24