Bioluminescence is one of the more captivating adaptations that have evolved in marine animals. It's the ability of organisms to create and emit light. Dive underwater and you may witness lightshows of red, green, and blue. Chemical reactions release energy that produces the light. Many species use it to communicate; some use it to lure their next meal; and others emit light to ward off predators. According to NOAA, scientists estimate that bioluminescence exists in 90 percent of the animals living in the open ocean, in waters below 500 m (1,640 ft). It's a trait that has evolved in a variety of organisms—a small fraction of which are in this slideshow.
Bioluminescence has inspired scientists and artists alike. Watch a video of researchers sharing stories of their encounters with bioluminescent animal, learn about the luminous art of Shih Chieh Huang, and find out more about bioluminescence.