Bioluminescence and Fluorescence OverviewTeamLatest NewsTechnologies Because the majority of living space on earth is in the deep ocean, below the zone of bright light, bioluminescent light is almost certainly the most common form of communication on the planet. Flashes and glows can be used in many different ways, and sometimes there can be four different functions of bioluminescence in a single animal!We have found that luminescence is very widespread among animals that we can see with our remotely operated submersibles (ROVs): We found that 76% of creatures in the water column, and 45% of those living on the bottom are able to make their own light. This applies from the surface all the way to 4000 meters deep.To learn more about bioluminescence we are applying new tools both at sea and in the lab. Using a special low-light camera on the ROV, we can film bioluminescent behaviors, many for the first time.Using genetics and chemical tools, we are studying the biochemical basis and origins of bioluminescence. We’ve found that the most common light-emitter in the sea — the luciferin coelenterazine — is missing in some jellies, which have to get it from their diet. Others can synthesize their own, possibly using a special gene, and we are hoping to figure out this biosynthesis pathway. Ctenophore biosynthesis paper (bessho uehara). These studies show that having non-luminous species to use as natural controls can make important contributions.On our ROV dives, we have witnessed bioluminescence for the first time in many animals: the Green bomber worm Swima, the lures of the angler siphonophore Erenna sirena, bioluminescent arrow worms, doliolids, vampire squid tentacles, sea anemones the first luminous sponge.We have also found that some animals use fluorescent lures to create brightly colored attractants in the monochromatic blue environment: Olindias, Rhizophysa and Resomia.Many of our findings, and summaries of the functions of bioluminescence are found in our comprehensive review paper.Finally, we are using MBARI’s autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) to map the oceanographic distribution of bioluminescence and to evaluate which species are making the light based on the characteristics of the flashes measured. Gallery Team Directory Steven Haddock Senior Scientist/Marine Biologist Principal Investigator Monique Messié Senior Research Specialist Manabu Bessho-Uehara (alumni), Darrin Schultz (alumni), Séverine Martini (alumni), Warren Francis (alumni). Publications All Publications Sorry, no results were found. Latest News All News News Glow your own: Comb jellies make their own glowing compounds instead of getting them from food News 12.10.20 News Researchers discover carnivorous sponges that make their own light News 12.07.20 News Marine biologists publish editorial in New York Times about risks of deep-sea mining News 08.14.20 Technologies All Technologies Vehicle, Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) ROV Ventana Technology ROV Ventana A remotely operated vehicle equipped with a Sea-Bird 19plus V2 CTD package including a dissolved oxygen sensor, transmissometer, and spatial lasers mounted on the main camera. Software Video Annotation and Reference System (VARS) Technology Video Annotation and Reference System (VARS) A software interface and database system that provides tools for describing, cataloging, retrieving, and viewing the data associated with deep-sea video archives. Vehicle, Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) MiniROV Technology MiniROV The MiniROV is used to conduct shallow water transects and make in situ observations. Vehicle, Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) ROV Doc Ricketts Technology ROV Doc Ricketts An integrated unmanned submersible research platform with features providing efficient, reliable, and precise sampling and data collection. Data All Data Sorry, no results were found.