More Bioluminescence

The submersible Alvin carries scientists to the deep ocean, where they encounter amazing creatures and views of deep ocean life. Explore more in the Deep Ocean Exploration section .
Under white light, this shortnose greeneye fish ( Chlorophthalmus agassizi ) looks unimpressive. But, in dim blue light—the type usually seen at depth—it shows its true fluorescent colors. NOAA...
Jellyfish and comb jellies are gelatinous animals that drift through the ocean's water column around the world. They are both beautiful—the jellyfish with their pulsating bells and long, trailing...
Artist Shih Chieh Huang creates work using plastic bags, household objects, computer cooling fans, LED lights, and other assorted materials. His 2011 solo exhibition, " The Bright Beneath: The...
The yellow bioluminescent ring on this female octopus ( Bolitaena pygmaea ) may attract mates. Bioluminescence is an important adaptation that helps many deep sea animals survive in their dark world...
Sunset? Time to glow! A biological clock triggers bioluminescence in the dinoflagellate Pyrocystis fusiformis . At dusk, cells produce the chemicals responsible for its light. Hear from marine...
You may have seen the sparkle of fireflies on a summer’s night. The fireflies produce light through a chemical reaction in their glowing abdomens, a process known as bioluminescence. But did you know...
This transparent cockatoo squid ( Leachia sp.), also known as a glass squid, lives in the depths of the ocean and has many adaptations to help it survive there. It retains ammonia solutions inside...
Artist Shih Chieh Huang spent a good part of 2007 exploring specimens of deep-ocean animals found in the collections of the National Museum of Natural History . He was a Smithsonian Artist Research...
Tropical hatchetfish ( Argyropelecus lychnus ), like the one shown in this X-ray photograph, live in the dark depths of the ocean ; this specimen was collected at about 2,789 feet (850 meters) in the...
“It’s a little appreciated fact that most of the animals in our ocean make light,” says Edie Widder, biologist and deep sea explorer at ORCA. In this TED talk, she shows incredible film and photos...
This ctenophore (a stingless jellyfish-like animal) is native to the east coast of North and South America. In 1982, it was discovered in the Black Sea, where it was transported by ballast water . It...
The fish at left stands out against the lighter waters above. At right the same fish—now with bioluminescent structures on its underside lit—blends in. Many deep sea creatures have evolved this...
What does a bioluminescent creature that lives more than two miles below the surface of the ocean and a glow stick have in common? More than you think. Bioluminescence is the process by which living...
Glowing photophores are visible on this midwater squid ( Abralia veranyi ) viewed from below at low light levels. We think of light as a way to see in the dark. But many species use it to help them...
What does a bioluminescent creature that lives more than two miles below the surface of the ocean and a glow stick have in common? More than you think. In a unique spin on an art technique called "...
A fringe of short tentacles surrounds the flattened bell of this tiny, transparent jellyfish ( Halicreas minimum ), which can be found at depths up to 984 feet (300 meters). But it would be hard to...
The Census of Marine Life - a ten-year effort by scientists from around the world to answer the age-old question, “What lives in the sea?” It was an international effort to asses the diversity,...
Subscribe to Bioluminescence