Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Edith Widder, Ph.D.
Ocean Research & Conservation Association

Experimental studies on the attractiveness of bioluminescent burglar alarms

Wednesday — September 26, 2012
Pacific Forum — 3:00 p.m.

Bioluminescent burglar alarms are displays that are directed at secondary predators as a means to draw attacks on the primary predator, thereby affording the sender/prey an opportunity for escape. Unlike many (possibly most) bioluminescent displays that are directed at receivers in their immediate vicinity, burglar alarms must be visible over distances where signal loss due to absorption and scattering will profoundly impact detectability. As a consequence, these are some of the brightest and most spectacular of bioluminescent displays. Because of the multitrophic nature of their purported function, experimental studies on burglar alarms are rare. In this seminar, I will discuss field studies, using the Eye-in-the-Sea on MARS, that reveal species specificity of display attractiveness and laboratory experiments that shed light on the evolution of burglar alarms.


Next: October 3—Matthew Hare, PhD