Deep Sea ATOLLA JELLYFISH
©NOAA/Edith A. Widder, NOAA-OE*
In August, I received an email from ocean bioluminescence expert Edith Widder from NOAA with a link to her speech at TED — which is here (it’s 12 minutes long) This video which completely blew away my preconceptions of deepwater work and changed the way I look at ocean life. I knew there were glowing animals in the ocean but I had no idea how commonplace and complex they were.
A shorter video about the Atolla Wyvillei exhibiting bioluminescence is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjaNzZt2olk
The deep-sea schyphozoan jellyfish, Atolla wyvillei, as seen from the Johnson-Sea-Link submersible with the lights on and then in the laboratory, after capture, with the lights off, exhibiting a burglar alarm display. Video courtesy of Operation Deep Scope 2005 Exploration.
It is believed that animals use bioluminescence to attract food, find a mate, and to ward off predators.
A deep-sea jellyfish, the Atolla wyvillei sends out a rotating pinwheel of blue light that illuminates around the circumference of its body as a “burglar alarm.” That is, when a predator has the jellyfish in its clutches, the Atolla wyvillei emits the bright, flashing circular light patterns in hopes of attracting an even bigger predator to attack the original predator. If the jellyfish’s burglar alarm plan works, their original predator will let go and swim away out of fear. Or the attacked predator may loosen their grip on the jellyfish, providing it a chance to escape.
*National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is a federal agency focused on the condition of the oceans and the atmosphere.
Atolla Jellyfish and another
Eye Flash Squid
One of my favourites.