Underwater, It’s Christmas Every Day

Bioluminescence

Bioluminescence

Bioluminescence (Photo credit: Aetas Serenus)

All the pretty Christmas lights everywhere made me want to write about bioluminescence. An extraordinary amount of creatures in the water exhibit this light display (90% of deep-sea creatures). The link above is a great website, not only pertaining to bioluminescence, but lots of other links about light and perception. I got really distracted and started learning about a lot of other stuff! But focusing on bioluminescence (light made through chemical reactions in living things), the website goes into detail about the chemical reactions behind the enchanting glow. The main theories put forward as to why animals light up like a (mainly) monochromatic Christmas tree are as follows: camouflage, attraction, repulsion, communication, and illumination. However, many forms of bioluminescence are not fully understood. This stems from the fact that the majority of bioluminescence occurs in the deep sea, an area extremely overlooked due to technology constraints as well as funding. However, according to this article, the funding may increase due to amazing advances in medical work based on the idea of bioluminescence. Fluorescent genes from bioluminescent animals can be used to locate specific genes in mammals. This is very exciting research, and could be applied to multiple avenues outside of medical research, such as farming or food quality control.biolum2

Although this website explains everything very well and it has other great links for the extra curious, I also found this link to TedTalks (as I’m a huge TedTalks fan) about bioluminescence by Edith Widder. The pictures from the website are good, but watching the bioluminescence in real time on this video is pretty amazing. There is even a cameo by a giant squid! The random other fun biology fact in this video is that the angler fish female actually absorbs the male into her body. Her blood will begin to circulate through his body. Wicked!!! Anywho, ENJOY and Happy Holidays!

English: The deep-sea scyphozoan jellyfish, At...

English: The deep-sea scyphozoan jellyfish, Atolla wyvillei, as seen under white light. Image courtesy of Edith A. Widder, Operation Deep Scope 2005 Exploration, NOAA-OE. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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