Glowing to the bottom

Date: October 18, 2019

Author: Kim Fulton-Bennett

In the dark depths of the ocean, pretty much the only sources of light are the animals that live there. Whether flashing, glimmering, or emitting glowing liquids, many deep-sea animals are able to produce light (bioluminesce). MBARI researchers recently found that animals that live on the seafloor are much less likely to produce light than those swimming or drifting in the “midwater.”

In 2017, MBARI researchers Severine Martini and Steve Haddock showed that about three quarters of midwater animals in the  make their own light. Martini, Haddock, and several collaborators recently applied the same analytical methods to study bioluminescence in animals living on or near the . In a new paper in Scientific Reports, they estimate that only about 40% of deep  animals make their own light.

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