Bioluminescence

Essays

Below you will find a collection of content essays about bioluminescence written by explorers participating in expeditions featured on the OceanExplorer.NOAA.gov website.

Ocean Exploration Fact: What is Bioluminescence?

What Is Bioluminescence?

Ocean Exploration Fact. Learn more about bioluminescence, or the ability of an organism to create light. One of nature’s most amazing phenomena, bioluminescence is seemingly drawn more from science fiction than science and natural history.

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Ocean Exploration Fact: How Do Living Organisms Produce Light?

How Do Living Organisms Produce Light?

Ocean Exploration Fact. While deep areas of the ocean are almost completely dark, light still plays an important role in these environments. In this essay, learn how living organisms can produce their own light via bioluminescence, fluorescence, and phosphorescence.

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Bioluminescence

Bioluminescence

From the Bioluminescence and Vision on the Deep Seafloor 2015 expedition. In the ocean, most types of animals – ranging from bacteria to sharks – include bioluminescent members. This essay discusses the chemistry, mysteries, distribution, and evolution of bioluminescence and shares many of the associated questions about bioluminescence that have yet to be answered.

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Medusa Lander

Medusa Lander

From the Bioluminescence and Vision on the Deep Seafloor 2015 expedition. The Medusa lander uses red light illumination that is invisible to most deep-sea inhabitants and an intensified camera that amplifies both this dim illumination as well as any bioluminescence, providing phenomenal footage of deep-sea animals in their natural environments.

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Vision in the Deep

Vision in the Deep

From the Bioluminescence and Vision on the Deep Seafloor 2015 expedition. Vision and bioluminescence play important roles in deep-sea organisms' survival, so it is important to identify the specifics of how these organisms "see." In this essay, scientists describe the physiological and molecular experiments used to better understand vision in a pitch black environment.

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Crabs, Lobsters and Shrimp, Oh My!: The Evolution of Light Detection in the Deep Sea

Crabs, Lobsters and Shrimp, Oh My!: The Evolution of Light Detection in the Deep Sea

From the Bioluminescence and Vision on the Deep Seafloor 2015 expedition. In this essay, an explorer tells of the excitement of being on a deep-sea shrimp hunt and her attraction to the mystery, challenges, and unknowns of what is truly the last unexplored frontier on Earth.

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Deep Light

Deep Light

From the Operation Deep Scope 2004: Seeing with "New Eyes" expedition. Look beneath the ocean’s surface, and you are immediately aware of how water transforms light. In this essay, learn how light conditions affect animals in the deep ocean and about their remarkable adaptations to survive in an environment devoid of sunlight.

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Visual Ecology and Bioluminescence

Visual Ecology and Bioluminescence

From the Islands in the Stream 2002: Exploring Underwater Oases expedition. Many deep-sea benthic animals have very large eyes, but the sensitivity level of these eyes, as well as what they are used for, has remained a mystery. Scientists hypothesize that the huge eyes of deep-sea benthic creatures are adapted for viewing bioluminescence but little is known about bioluminescence on the deep seafloor, and we know virtually nothing about the visual systems of deep-sea inhabitants.

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ORCA’s Eye in the Sea

ORCA’s Eye in the Sea

From the Bioluminescence 2009: Living Light on the Deep-sea Floor expedition. To observe bioluminescence unobtrusively in different seafloor habitats, scientists deployed the Ocean Research and Conservation Association (ORCA) camera system, called Eye-in-the-Sea.

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The above items are only a selection of the educational materials highlighting bioluminescence on our website.

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