Alison Sweeney

Assistant Professor
DRL 2N10
(215) 898-2010

B.A., Biology and Russian, Illinois Wesleyan University: 1997-2001
magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, National Merit Scholarship

Ph.D., Biology, Duke University: 2001-2007
NSF GRFP Fellow and James B. Duke Scholar

Research Interests: 

Molecular evolution of self-assembling protein photonic structures in molluscs and optical characterization of the sophisticated roles they play in camouflage and photosynthetic symbiosis; cellular and biochemical mechanisms of dynamic camouflage; characterization of
the open ocean light environment in which animals have evolved sophisticated camouflage; spectral changes during twilight and their effects on visual ecology.

Selected Publications: 

Sweeney, A.M.*, Holt, A.L.*, Gagnon, Y., Vahidinia, S., DeMartini, D., and Morse, D.E. Bio-photonics and the evolution of the Tridacnid giant clam symbiosis. Submitted to Science.

Jaffe, J.S., Simonet, F., Laxton, B., Roberts, P.L.D., Zylinski, S., Johnsen, S., Sweeney, A.M. (2011). Omni-Cam and the Sub-Sea Holodeck: Systems for recording in-situ radiance and simulating underwater optical environments in the lab. Mar. Tech. Soc. J. (in press).

Sweeney, A.M.*, Holt, A.*, Johnsen, S., and Morse, D.E. (2011). A highly-distributed Bragg stack with unique geometry provides effective camouflage for Loligo squid eyes. J. Roy. Soc. Interface 8: 1386-1399 (featured on the cover)

Boch, C.A., Ananthasubramaniam, B., Sweeney, A.M., Doyle III, F.J., and Morse, D.E. (2011). Effects of light dynamics on coral spawning synchrony. Biol. Bull. 220: 161-173 (featured on the cover)

Sweeney, A.M., Boch, C., Johnsen, S., and Morse, D.E. (2011). Twilight spectral dynamics and the coral reef invertebrate spawning response. J. Exp. Biol. 214: 770-777

Tao, A.R., DeMartini, D.G., Izumi, M., Sweeney, A.M., Holt, A.L., Morse, D.E. (2010). The role of protein assembly in dynamically tunable bio-optical tissues. Biomaterials 31: 793-801.

Izumi, M., Sweeney, A.M., DeMartini, D., Weaver, J.C., Powers, M.L., Tao, A., Silvas, T.V., Kramer, R.M., Crookes-Goodson, W.J., Mäthger, L.M., Naik, R.R. Hanlon, R.T., and Morse, D.E. (2010). Changes in reflectin protein phosphorylation are associated with dynamic iridescence in squid. Journal of the Royal Society Interface 7: 549-560.

Sweeney, A. (2007). Evolution of Vision in Coleoid Cephalopods. Ph.D. Thesis. Duke University.

Sweeney, A., Haddock, S. H. D., and S. Johnsen (2007). Comparative visual acuity of coleoid cephalopods. Integrative and Comparative Biology 47: 808-814.

Sweeney, A. M., Des Marais, D. L., Ban, Y. A. and S. Johnsen (2007). Evolution of Graded Refractive Index in Squid Lenses. Journal of the Royal Society Interface 4: 685-698.

Johnsen, S., Kelber, A., Warrant, E. J., Sweeney, A. M., Lee, R. H. Jr., Hernández-Andrés, J. (2006). Crepuscular and nocturnal illumination and its effects on color perception by the nocturnal hawkmoth Deilephila elpenor. Journal of Experimental Biology 209: 789-800.

Sweeney, A.M., Jiggins, C., and S. Johnsen (2003). Polarized light as a butterfly mating signal. Nature 423: 31-32.

Sweeney, A.M., and Sanudo-Wilhelmy, S.A. (2003). Dissolved metal contamination in the East River–Long Island Sound system: potential biological effects. Marine Pollution Bulletin 48: 663-670.

*Indicates shared lead authorship.