Elke Buschbeck

Elke K. Buschbeck



Rieveschl Hall


A&S Biological Sciences - 0006

Professional Summary

Please see: http://buschbecklab.com for more information
SBBE, Evolution and development of arthropod visual systems: Neuroethology, insect neurobiology, physiology, optics, behavior, molecular biology, evolution


PhD: University of Arizona Tucson Arizona, (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology with a minor in Neurobiology)

Research and Practice Interests

My research is driven by a deep interest in how other organisms perceive the world, and how their sensory systems have evolved to adjust to specific needs.  Here are links to some of the ongoing projects in my lab:

The eyes of diving beetle larvae work quite differently than other eyes.  Learn more about how one of the strangest eyes in the world works.
Ancient genes in new eyes: read more about emerging evidence that suggests that even the most bizarre eyes need old and well characterized eye genes to develop.
Gaining focus: the challenge of coordinating lens and retina. See more about how our new micro-ophthalmoscope puts us into the unique position of being able to give a vision test to the smallest of all eyes.
In my lab we don’t look for interesting research:  interesting research projects keep finding us.  Read more about some other exciting projects that we pursue.

Research Support

Grant: #IOS-1456757 Investigators:Buschbeck, Elke 08-15-2015 -07-31-2019 National Science Foundation How development forms specific function: the highly unusual visual system of diving beetle larvae Role:PI $600,000.00 Awarded Level:Federal

Grant: #Core Equipment Grant Program AY2017-2018 Investigators:Buschbeck, Elke 01-01-2018 -12-31-2018 UC's Research Support purchase BZ-X700 All-In-One Fluorescence Microscope w/ optical sectioning as core facility Role:PI $49,407.00 Active Level:Internal UC

Grant: #IOS-1856241 Investigators:Buschbeck, Elke; Stowasser, Annette 08-01-2019 -07-31-2023 National Science Foundation Coordinated eye growth in sophisticated arthropod visual systems Role:PI $499,999.00 Awarded Level:Federal

Abbreviated Publications

Peer Reviewed Publications

Charlton-Perkins M., Sendler, E.D, Buschbeck E.K. and Cook T. A. (2017) Müller glia-like cells are a major constituent of the insect compound eye. PLOS Genetics. 3(5).  Recommended in F1000Prime as being of special significance in its field.

Stahl, A. Charlton-Perkins, M. Buschbeck, EK and Tiffany Cook T.A. (2017) The cuticular nature of corneal lenses in Drosophila melanogaster. Development Genes and Evolution; 227(4), 271-278.

Morehouose, N.I., Buschbeck, E.K., Zurek, D.B., Steck, M. and Porter, M. (2017). Molecular Evolution of Spider Vision: New Opportunities, Familiar Players. The Biological Bulletin 233 (2): In press

Stowasser, A., Owens, M. and Buschbeck, E. K. (2017). Giving invertebrates an eye exam: An ophthalmoscope that utilizes the autofluorescence of photoreceptors. Journal of Experimental Biology; in press

Stecher, N., Stowasser, A., Stahl, A. and Buschbeck, E. K. (2016). Embryonic development of the larval eyes of the Sunburst Diving Beetle, Thermonectus marmoratus (Insecta: Dytiscidae); a morphological study. Evolution and Development, 18(4): 216-228. 

James, M. Nandamuri, SP Stahl, A and Buschbeck, E.K. (2016). The unusual eyes of Xenos peckii (Strepsiptera: Xenidae) have green- and UV-sensitive photoreceptors. Journal of Experimental Biology, 219, 3866-3874. Highlighted by an “Inside JEB” article by Kathryn Knight and chosen as “Editors Choice” article of the December issue.

Werner, S. and Buschbeck E.K. (2015) Rapid and step-wise eye growth in molting diving beetle larvae.  The Journal of Comparative Physiology. 201(11):1091-1102

Stowasser, A., Mohr, S., Buschbeck, E.K., and Vilinsky, I.,  (2015) Electrophysiology meets ecology: investigating how vision is tuned to the life style of an animal using electroretinography. The Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education, 13(3):A234-43

​Bland, K., Revetta, N., Stowasser, A. and Buschbeck, E. K. (2014). Unilateral range finding in diving beetle larvae. Journal of Experimental Biology. 217:327-330. Featured in inside JEB.

Stowasser, A. and Buschbeck, E. K. (2014). Multitasking in an eye: How the unusual organization of the principal larval eyes of Thermonectus marmoratus allows for far and near vision and might aid in depth perception. Journal of Experimental Biology, 217:2509-2516.

Buschbeck, E. K. (2014). Escaping compound eye ancestry: the evolution of single-chamber eyes in holometabolous larvae. Journal of Experimental Biology, 217, 2818-2824.

Stowasser, A and Buschbeck E. K. (2014) How aquatic water-beetle larvae with small chambered eyes overcome challenges of hunting under water. The Journal of Comparative Physiology, 200:911–922.
This article was chosen by the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Comparative Physiology A, Prof. Dr. Friedrich G. Barth, as the highlight article of November 2014 

Annette Stowasser and Elke K. Buschbeck (2012)  First elec­­trophysiological evidence for polarization sensitivity in camera like eyes of a predacious aquatic insect larva, Thermonectus marmoratus (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae).  Journal of Experimental Biology. 215:3577-3586. 

Saima Riazuddin, Inna A. Belyantseva, Arnaud Giese, Kwanghyuk Lee, Artur A. Indzhykulian, Sri Pratima Nandamuri, Rizwan Yousaf, Ghanshyam P. Sinha, Sue Lee, David Terrell, Rashmi S. Hegde, Rana A. Ali, Saima Anwar, Paula B. Andrade-Elizondo, Asli Sirmaci, Leslie V. Parise, Sulman Basit, Abdul Wali, Muhammad Ayub, Muhammad Ansar, Wasim Ahmad, Shaheen N. Khan, Javed Akram, Mustafa Tekin, Sheikh Riazuddin, Tiffany Cook, Elke K. Buschbeck, Gregory I. Frolenkov, Suzanne M. Leal, Thomas B. Friedman, Zubair M. Ahmed (2012) ­­Mutations in CIB2, a calcium and integrin binding protein, cause Usher syndrome type 1J and nonsyndromic deafness DFNB48. Nature Genetics. 44: 1265-1271

Srdjan Maksimovic, John F. Layne, Elke K. Buschbeck (2011). Characterization of spectral and temporal properties of the Sunburst Diving Beetle (Thermonectus marmoratus) larva photoreceptor cells.  The Journal of Experimental Biology 214, 3524-3531.

N. Morgan RC EK. Buschbeck (2010) Retinal ultrastructure in the principle eyes may mediate polarization sensitivity in the first instar larva of the diving beetle Thermonectus marmoratus (Insecta: Dytiscidae). Zoomorphology, 129(3): 141-152

Stowasser, A, A. Rapaport, JE. Layne, RC. Morgan, and EK Buschbeck (2010) Biological bifocal lenses with image separation. Current Biology appearing August 24th 2010 issue.

Maksimovic, Srdjan, Cook, Tiffany A, & Buschbeck, Elke K (2009). Spatial distribution of opsin-encoding mRNAs in the tiered larval retinas of the sunburst diving beetle Thermonectus marmoratus (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae). The Journal of experimental biology, 212(Pt 23), 3781-94.

Buschbeck EK and M Hauser (2009) On the way to camera eyes: the visual system of male scale insects. Naturwissenschaften, 97(3):365-374

Buschbeck EK and M Friedrich (2008) Evolution of insect eyes: tales of ancient heritage, deconstruction, reconstruction, remodeling, and recycling. Evolution: Education and Outreach, 1:448-462.

Buschbeck, E.K., Sbita, S.J., & Morgan, R.C. (2007). Scanning behavior by larvae of the predacious diving beetle, Thermonectus marmoratus (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae) enlarges visual field prior to prey capture. Journal of Comparative Physiology A, 193, 937-982.

Maksimovic, S., Layne, J.E., & Buschbeck, E.K. (2007). Behavioral evidence for within-eyelet resolution in twisted-winged insects (Strepsiptera). The Journal of Experimental Biology, 210, 2819-2828.

Sbita, S.J., Morgan, R.C., & Buschbeck, E.K. (2007). Eye and optic lobe metamorphosis in the sunburst diving beetle, Thermonectus marmoratus (Coleoptera: Dytiscidae). Arthropod Structure and Development, 36, 449-462.

Mandapaka, K., Morgan, R.C., & Buschbeck, E.K. (2006). Twenty eight retinas but only twelve eyes; an anatomical analysis of the larval visual system of the diving beetle Thermonectus marmoratus (Dytiscidae; Coleoptera). The Journal of Comparative Neurology, 497, 166-181.

Buschbeck, E.K. (2005). The compound lens eye of Strepsiptera: morphological development of larvae and pupae. Arthropod Structure and Development, 34(3), 315-326.

Buschbeck, E.K., & Hoy, R.R. (2005). The development of a long, coiled optic nerve in the stalk-eyed fly Cyrtodiopsis whitei. Cell and Tissue Research, 321(3), 491-504.

Buschbeck, E.K., Ehmer, B., & Hoy, R.R. (2003). The unusual visual system of the Strepsiptera: External eye and neuropils. Journal of Comparative Physiology A, 189(8), 617-630.

Buschbeck, E. K., Roosevelt, J. L., Hoy, R. R. (2001). Eye stalks or no eye stalks: A structural comparison of pupal development in the stalk-eyed fly Cyrtodiopsis and in Drosophila. Journal of Comparative Neurology, 433(4), 486, 498.

Buschbeck, E. K. (2000). Neurobiological constraints and fly systematics: How different types of neural characters can contribute to a higher level dipteran phylogeny. Evolution, 54(3), 888, 898.

Buschbeck, EK., B. Ehmer and RR. Hoy (1999) Chunk versus point sampling: visual imaging in a small insect. Science 286:1178-1180.

Buschbeck, E. K., Hoy, R. R. (1998). Visual system of the stalk-eyed fly, Cyrtodiopsis quinqueguttata (Diopsidae, Diptera): An anatomical investigation of unusual eyes. Journal of Neurobiology, 37(3), 449, 468.

Buschbeck, E. K., Strausfeld, N. J. (1997). The relevance of neural architecture to visual performance: Phylogenetic conservation and variation in dipteran visual systems. Journal of Comparative Neurology, 383(3), 282, 304.

Buschbeck, E. K., Strausfeld, N. J. (1996). Visual motion-detection circuits in flies: Small-field retinotopic elements responding to motion are evolutionarily conserved across taxa. Journal of Neuroscience, 16(15), 4563, 4578.

Book Chapter

Buschbeck EK (2009) Animal Eyes. In: Bruce Goldstein (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Perception. Sage Publications, Inc.

Buschbeck, E.K. (2008). Model Systems in Vision Research. In Panagiotis A. Tsonis (Eds.), Anatomical and Functional Diversity of Animal Eyes. Academic Press.

Strausfeld NJ, EK Buschbeck and RS Gomez (1995); The arthropod Mushroom Body: it’s functional roles, evolutionary enigmas and mistaken identities. In: O. Breidbach and W. Kutsch (eds.) The nervous systems of invertebrates: an evolutionary and comparative approach. Birkhaeuser Verlag Basel / Switzerland.


Invited Presentations

Annette Stowasser and Elke Buschbeck (2015. ) Exploring distance cues that a highly unusual visual system could use to hunt under water .HHMI – Janelia Farm Research Conference,

Elke Buschbeck, Shannon Werner and Annete Stowasser (2015. ) Rapid eye growth in the functionally complex diving beetle larval eyes. HHMI – Janelia Farm Research Conference,

Elke Buschbeck, Shannon Werner and Elke Buschbeck (2015. ) Rapid eye growth and opthalmoscope measurements of diving beetle larval eyes. .Gordong Research Conference, Tuscany, Italy,

Aaron Stahl, Mark Charlton-Perkins, Tiffany Cook and Elke Buschbeck (2015. ) Cutilular origins of the Thermonectus marmoratus bifocal lens. Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution, Vienna, Austria,


Research Director Type:Departmental Service

Post Graduate Training and Education

Research with Dr. Ron R Hoy, Cornell University, , Ithaca, NY

Courses Taught

-BIOL-3021 COMP. PHYSIOL. Level:Undergraduate

-BIOL-7021 COMP. PHYSIOL. Level:Graduate

-BIOL-3021 COMP. PHYSIOL. Level:Undergraduate

-NS-7078 FUND NEUROSCI I Level:Undergraduate




-BIOL-7021 COMP. PHYSIOL. Level:Graduate



Contact Information