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Showing blog posts tagged with Bioluminescence

Deep-Sea Cephalopods Hide Using Light

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Many organisms use light to lure prey or draw attention, but scientists have found an octopus and a squid that use it to hide. The video below, created by the Museum’s Science Bulletins, shows how these deep-sea cephalopods fool their predators using bioluminescence. To learn more about the diversity of bioluminescence across the tree of life, visit the special exhibition Creatures of Light: Nature’s Bioluminescence.


Tags: Bioluminescence, Science Bulletins

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Cleared and Stained: Picturing a Ponyfish

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While advances in imaging technologies have opened new pathways for scientists to study natural phenomena, researchers continue to make remarkable discoveries using techniques that have been around for decades. John Sparks, associate curator in the Museum’s Department of Ichthyology, uses enzymes and dyes to reveal key anatomical structures in different species of fishes for study of their function and evolution.

Among his study subjects are ponyfishes (family Leiognathidae), a group of bioluminescent fishes common in the Indian Ocean and Western Pacific that have a light organ. This internal structure, which varies among ponyfish species, surrounds the esophagus and contains luminescent bacteria, the source of the fish’s light. The light organ is larger in males, which have a second species-specific anatomical feature: translucent skin patches, which allow them to use the light organ in displays to attract mates in turbid waters. (Bioluminescent organisms will be explored in the exciting new exhibition Creatures of Light: Nature’s Bioluminescence, which opens at the Museum on March 31, 2012.)

Tags: Bioluminescence

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The Rebound Effect: Student Studies DEET’s Effect on Dinoflagellates

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Seventeen-year-old Ryan wanted to understand whether the popular insect repellant DEET, worn by many tourists to ward off mosquitoes, had any effect on the dinoflagellates in these bays. His investigation, outlined in the essay The Effects of DEET on the Bioluminescent Dinoflagellate, Pyrocystis fusiformis, earned Ryan one of this year’s Young Naturalist Awards.

Tags: Bioluminescence, Young Naturalist Awards

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