We See the Light- Bioluminescence!
Today we’re going to learn about bioluminescence and to tell you the story of a young seahorse who wanted to glow! Let’s start this week off at camp with some bright lights!
- Bioluminescence is a reaction of chemicals inside a living organism.
- Most marine animals that are bioluminescent produce a blue/green color.
- It produces little to no heat, just the glow.
- Most bioluminescent animals are found in the oceans – lightening bugs are another (we’ll meet them at Lake camp).
- Some animals produce the chemicals that give off the bilouminescent glow.
- Some animals get their bioluminescence from the food they eat.
- Some animals house bacteria that are bioluminscent.
- Bioluminescence is used to help the animal hunt for prey, as defense from predators or to attract a mate.
- Vampire squid do not have ink they instead eject a bioluminescent substance to throw off predators and escape!
- Milky seas or mareel is when large areas of the ocean glow a brilliant bright blue (it looks white from satellite images)! The glow is so bright it can be seen from space. Scientists think that bioluminescent bacteria or phytoplankton causes this amazing phenomenon.
Well, we’re not sure what’s cooler than an animal that can give off it’s own glow! Read the story of Sylvia the Seahorse who wanted to be bioluminescent!
Young Sylvia the seahorse loved being a seahorse. She loved her curly tail and her teeny tiny fins. Sylvia didn’t mind that she wasn’t so fast. It gave her time to make friends as she passed.
Sylvia loved all her brightly colored fish friends! There was Bill who was aqua and Faith who was pink and Neal who was blue and even her urchin pal Pat had a purple hue!
But oh, Sylvia was just a plain green color. Just a boring old color to help blend in! But she wanted fantastically bright colored fins!
She especially wished she looked like Sarah the squid or Cary the comb jelly who had bright glowing lights! How Sylvia wished she glowed and lit up the night!
One day she wanted to learn how they glowed and if she could too. So she went to oldest and wisest in all of the reef. Great Giant Clam, the one they called Chief!
Great Giant Clam was wise and was bold and over a hundred years old! He knew all the animals and had all the knowledge, even though Chief had not gone to college!
“Great Giant Clam,” she asked ever so gently. “How did the comb jellies learn to glow?” He laughed and he laughed. “Oh Sylvia, you silly seahorse! Glowing is not something you learn how to do! It’s just how you grow!”
Oh she hoped he was wrong! “I’m just a plain boring green. Bright colored fins are all I desire,” she said. “And why would you want to look like some other fish?” Great Giant Clam inquired.
Great Giant Clam looked at her plainly and said “We’re all different colors here on the reef. That’s what makes us all unique. My dear if we all glowed like our dear friends the squid, we’d want all that glow to be undid.”
She giggled and thought, he might have a point. Her green wasn’t so bad, it was actually quiet pretty! “Oh my dear Sylvia, our bioluminescent friends, use their glow to fend off foe. Your green keeps you hidden, as you would be eaten if you gave off that glow!”
“You’re right Great Giant Clam,” she exclaimed! And dear little Sylvia swam back to her spot on the reef! She hid in the grass as she watched all her friends. Oh it’s wonderful to be green like a leaf!