Scientists aboard the manned submersible Johnson-Sea-Link were pleasantly surprised to find and collect an array of glowing sea creatures living deep inside oceans off the Bahamas. The expedition was on the lookout for these previously known bottom dwellers known to spread their bioluminescence.
The scientist aboard the ship were able to discover many ocean dwellers that were capable of emitting their own light that allowed them to glow in the dark. These animals included a deep-sea shrimp Parapandalus that hurls a glowing cloud of organic matter to confuse a potential predator. There were also glowing sea cucumbers, sea anemones, bamboo corals, and a new species of hermit crab found at depths approaching 3,280 feet (a thousand meters).
This is the first time that these bottom dwellers have been studied and collected to research on their bioluminescence.
Study co-author Tamara Frank, a marine biologist at Florida’s Nova Southeastern Oceanographic Center said that the glowing light might be helping these creatures color code their food.
“It’s possible that these animals are using the different colors of bioluminescence to decide, Yes I like that, no I’m not interested in that,” Frank said.
Another interesting find of the study was that the deep sea animals glowed mostly a green light unlike the blue seen in animals living in the water column.
“Down on the seabed, there’s a lot of current activity and detritus in the water that may make it difficult to see blue light,” she said. “The green light would carry a little bit further.”
It is surely a dazzling show going on in the deep blue sea.