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Museum Releases Free Companion iPad App for Creatures of Light Exhibition

On Exhibit posts

The Museum’s free companion iPad app for the popular new exhibition Creatures of Light: Nature’s Bioluminescence offers a close look at some of the extraordinary organisms that produce light. The app, which has been featured in the New and Noteworthy section of the iPad app store, reveals the beauty of bioluminescence through interactive animations, photo galleries, and videos. Each chapter of the app, which is adapted from the iPad content featured throughout the exhibition gallery, is set to a symphonic soundtrack composed exclusively for Creatures of Light.

Tags: Bioluminescence

Fireflies

As Firefly Numbers Seem to Slide, Researchers Ponder Effects on Ecosystems

On Exhibit posts

Firefly larvae are voracious predators, feeding on snails, slugs, and earthworms and keeping ecosystems in delicate balance. Many are stocking up on food for their whole adulthood, throughout which they will never eat. Some climb trees in pursuit of arboreal snails. Others have gills like fish that allow them to dive for aquatic snails, whose shells they then use for protection like hermit crabs. In parts of Asia, a large mollusk called an apple snail has ravaged important crops such as rice, and firefly larvae are being explored as a potential form of biocontrol to protect those nations’ food supply.

Tags: Bioluminescence

creatures image

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

ipad_pic

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

Fireflies

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

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