News Posts

Showing blog posts tagged with "Bioluminescence"

Curator John Sparks on Fieldwork in Extreme Environments

Curator John Sparks on Fieldwork in Extreme Environments

From the Field posts

Ichthyologist John Sparks, curator of Creatures of Light: Nature’s Bioluminescence, recalls two challenging expeditions in Madagascar in search of new species of blind cavefishes. Read an excerpt of the interview below.

We were in Ankarana Reserve in far northern Madagascar, a surreal landscape of exposed karst formations. These are one-of-a-kind formations of permeable rocks, with rivers and streams in between. It’s kind of like Swiss cheese, with water running through it. We were looking for a species of blind cavefish endemic to this region.

But first, we had to make our way through the piles of bat guano [dung]. The cavefishes, which lack pigment and have no eyes, eat some of the invertebrates that are in the water, but a lot of them survive mainly on guano. There are enormous piles of it in these caves, 20- to 30-foot mounds. When you get closer, the mounds seem to come alive, with millions of clicking, rustling cockroaches that run over your feet and up your legs. It’s just like a scene out of an Indiana Jones movie.

Tags: Bioluminescence

A Day of Deep-Sea Cameras and Creatures in the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life

A Day of Deep-Sea Cameras and Creatures in the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life

Q&As

From fireflies to jellyfishes, an astonishing range of animals create their own light. On Sunday, April 22, kids can explore activity carts about glowing organisms while scientists David Gruber, Marc Branham, and Edith Widder share their research about these creatures and the deep-sea vehicles and cameras required to study them. David Gruber, an assistant professor at The City University of New York (CUNY) and a Museum research associate who consulted on the exhibition Creatures of Light: Nature’s Bioluminescence, recently answered a few questions about his deep-sea photography and the Museum.

Tags: Bioluminescence, Exhibitions, Q&A

Creatures of Light: Inside the Studio

Creatures of Light: Inside the Studio

On Exhibit posts

Months before the opening of Creatures of Light on March 31, a team of preparators at the Museum began developing custom models of glowing organisms that light up the exhibition. Director of Exhibition Design Michael Meister and other members of the Exhibition Department share how they conduct visual research for these unique models, work with curators to make them scientifically accurate, and meet the various lighting challenges of creating an exhibition about bioluminescence.

Tags: Bioluminescence

Creatures of Light Offers Window Into Bioluminescent World

Creatures of Light Offers Window Into Bioluminescent World

On Exhibit posts

The Museum’s latest exhibition, which lets visitors explore a series of ecosystems that sparkle with radiant creatures, is a uniquely immersive experience.

En route to the deep-sea homes of luminous fishes, visitors walk through a field of flashing fireflies, explore caves strung with jewel-like glowworms, and “wade” through a digital bioluminescent bay that glitters underneath each step. Overhead, a symphonic soundtrack composed by Tom Phillips helps set a distinct mood for each section, contributing to a magical setting in what Edward Rothstein of The New York Timescalled “a thoroughly engrossing exhibition.”

Tags: Bioluminescence

Reading the Language of Firefly Flashes

Reading the Language of Firefly Flashes

On Exhibit posts

Flashing flirted its way up the firefly family tree. These beetles’ evolutionary history shows a strange metamorphosis unfolding. Firefly eyes grow bigger, more bug-like, as the insects’ light organs enlarge. Their antennae, used like a nose to follow pheromones, shrink into stubs. The more important bioluminescent courtship signaling became throughout their history, the more the trappings of invisible communication faded out.

When Marc Branham, a professor of entomology at the University of Florida, began researching fireflies, he assumed such a beloved animal would be a textbook case in entomology. He was shocked to learn how little scientists knew about the common insect.

Tags: Bioluminescence

SELECT PAGE