Bioluminescence in Deep Sea Creatures
Did you know that ninety percent of deep sea dwellers are able to give off light straight from their bodies? The light emission from a living organism in the ocean is known as bioluminescence. As a human race we need to dig deeper into the study of these creatures in hopes of fully understanding what bioluminescence is, why is it being used, and how can it help us.
Bioluminescence is a mixture of chemicals inside a living thing that glows and generally lives in the twilight zone of the ocean. Bioluminescence consists of, “Two different kinds of light emission, luminescence is when chemical compounds mix together and glow. Incandescence is a filament inside the creature that gets very hot and emits light.” (Wilson, Tracy). Bioluminescence is mostly chemistry and how different chemicals mix together to give off different appearances. Luciferin produces light, while luciferase is a catalyst which often needs a charged ion to activate it. Life in the sea most often use coelenterazine, a type of luciferin. These particular animals live in the deeper parts of the ocean like the twilight zone.
These animals can’t function in the shallows of the ocean, so they retreat to the depths. The twilight zone is 660 to 3030 feet deep which means, “The only light that reaches where these fish are is a blue greenish color which gets absorbed by plant, so most of the light they give off is red” (Haddock). This scientist is describing the world of color or lack of that these special creatures face. The light in this zone is usually red due to the fact that there is not a lot of light the plants absorb the blue and green and animal life then give off a red light. These creatures use this special chemical mix for numerous reasons.
Marine life in these deep parts depend on a bioluminescence and everything it does for them. They can use it to for protection by using the burglar alarm theory, “…smaller fish emit a flash of light. The light attracts larger fish, which are likely to be the smaller fish’s predators” (Wilson, Tracy). In other words, the small fish let the big fish know where prey is and the original predator is eaten while it escapes. These fish have ingenuous methods of avoiding predators and surviving in the abyss. Living in such depths means that it can be difficult for animals to find food.
Although 90% of the ocean dwellers have luminescent abilities they aren’t the only ones who depend on it. One species that needs it, “sperm whales, the deepest divers of all the whales need bioluminescence to help them locate their food source.”(Knowlton, Nancy) Sperm whales are a perfect example of how other animals have adapted and made adjustments to their own lives to reap the advantages of bioluminescence. Thousands of animal’s lives are affected by bioluminescence, an important role in every animal that lives in the deep-sea luminescence.
Fish have different methods of attracting food...