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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Bioluminescence: Weird & Wonderful

Bioluminescence: Weird & Wonderful

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Monday, August 29, 2016/Categories: natural history, video, marine life, environment, adventure

                              Nighttime Luminescent Sea Turtle (credit: NOAA, Andy Bruckner)

Bioluminescence is beautiful and also strange. From angler-fish that dangle glowing bait to catch prey; to irridescent deep-sea squid; glowing insects (fire-o), and read-in-the-dark mushrooms, the biochemical process is wonderful and weird.

In animals bioluminescence is used as camouflage, for mimicry, to lure prey, and signal to attract mates. The active florescent molecule is luciferin that gives off a colorful flash when ignited by an enzyme. It is used as a marker in genetic research and could have future uses as bioluminescent systems for street and decorative lighting. A bio-luminescent plant has been created to test successful gene manipulations.

Bioluminescense has a website maintained by the UC at Santa Barbara and an educational presentation on its wonder and potential.



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