Luminescent Labs researchers studying biofluorescent coral also discovered a shark that reflects certain light, along with a stingray, eel, and other fish. The study, publish…
In Search of Biofluorescence…
Dr. David Gruber and the team from Luminescent Labs conducting midnight reef research off Mborokua Island, Solomon Islands.
Photo: Wade Fairley
Biofluorescent Synodontidae (Au naturel)
Some fish need genetic implantation to give off a light show of this caliber. But, this lizardfish shines naturally! Here is Synodus saurus exhibiting her inherent green biofluorescent properties.
Lizardfish heads resemble those of lizards and they have slender, cylindrical bodies. Some lizardfish can grow to almost two feet long. They can be found in tropical and subtropical marine waters and much prefer sandy environments.
Photo: Drs. David Gruber/John Sparks
Scientists have identified more than 180 species of fishes that glow in a wide range of colors and patterns. The research shows that biofluorescence—a phenomenon by which organisms absorb light, transform it, and eject it as a different color—is common and variable among marine fish species, indicating its potential use in communication and mating. The report opens the door for the discovery of new fluorescent proteins that could be used in biomedical research.
— Jacques Monod - 1954
Biofluorescence of the seahorse, Hippocampus erectus.
Photo: Drs. David Gruber, Vincent Pieribone, John Sparks. Animation: Emma Welles.
South Pacific Submarine Descent
Luminescent Lab’s Drs. David Gruber and John Sparks getting ready to submerge 1000 meters on this Solomon Island coral reef —in search of luminescent and fluorescent creatures. Dave McAloney does a final system of the Triton 3300/3 before dropping down…
Photo: Ken Corben
The Retro Submarine Suit
This 1715 design by Englishman John Lethbridge is perhaps the earliest known model of an atmospheric diving suit. Donning his “diving engine”, Lethbridge made several 20-minute dives to 20 meters; including one to salvage sunken silver treasure chests from the English Indiaman Vansittart in Cape Verdes.
Biofluorescent Swell Shark!
Cephaloscyllium ventriosum is nocturnal shark species commonly found in the subtropical eastern Pacific Ocean. It is called a Sweel Shark because when it is threatened by a predator, it ducks under a crevice and gulps down water, increasing its diameter up to triple its normal size. Swallowed water is prevented from exiting the stomach by the cardiac sphincter, a ring-like muscle at the opening of the stomach. Once in a crevice, the overinflated Swell Shark is a really difficult meal to obtain.
This species was recently discovered to be biofluorescent in The Covert World of Fish Biofluorescence: A Phylogenetically Widespread and Phenotypically Variable Phenomenon.
Marine biologists will be donning this cool exosuit to study bioluminescence off the coast of New England this summer. The suit has eighteen joints that allow for flexibility, is equipped with highly-sensitive cameras, and allows for two-way communications with its base on the surface.