Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Bioluminescence in Jellyfish


According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, "bioluminescence is the production of light by a living organism." Chemical reactions occurring inside the organisms release the energy which, in turn, produce the light. Usually bioluminescence is used to warn or evade predators, attract or detect prey, and communicate between members of the same species.
Periphylla jellyfish is thought to be one of the most common jellyfish in the deep ocean. "If you just kind of bump it, it can release bioluminescent particles from flaps on the bottom of its body, so it can use the luminescence as a distraction," Edith Widder said. "But if you keep hassling it, then it produces a spectacular display of waves and waves of light along its bell." Scientist think that the Periphylla jellyfish may do this so that if it is betting bothered, the light created will attract other animals, one of which could be a predator of what is bothering the jellyfish.
 
Few terraneous species bioluminesce, however; nearly two thirds of all deep-sea species, ranging from bacteria to fish, produce light. Bioluminescence is created by a chemical reaction in which energy is covered into light. The light is generally blue or green because the wavelengths of these colors travel easily through water.
Periphylla periphylla jellyfish is thought to be one of the most common jellyfish in the deep ocean. "If you just kind of bump it, it can release bioluminescent particles from flaps on the bottom of its body, so it can use the luminescence as a distraction," Edith Widder said. "But if you keep hassling it, then it produces a spectacular display of waves and waves of light along its bell." Scientist think it may do this so that if it is betting bothered the light will attract other animals one of which could be predators of what is bothering the jellyfish.
The word “bioluminescence” describes a chemical reaction in which an enzyme called luciferase stimulates a molecular reaction called luciferins and oxygen. This reaction results in the emission of light as well as a luminescent product called oxyluciferin. As mentioned, Marine bioluminescence is most commonly blue or green (such as the one above); however, a few predators can both transmit and see red light. This ability provides them with an advantage for detecting prey. More information of the chemical reaction of bioluminescence.
According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the bloodybelly comb jelly (in the video above) sparkles because light is diffracted from tiny transparent cilia that continuously pulse as a form of propulsion. This jellyfish is almost invisible because in the deep sea, animals that are red actually appear black. 
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