We’re Going Down!
Happy Wednesday! For this week’s wonderful, waterful post, we’ll dive to the deepest realms of the ocean to check out the amazing, bizarre, and sometimes downright creepy-looking creatures that live there. In water 3000+ feet deep, where no sunlight penetrates, fish, squid, shrimp and jellyfish make their own light to help them seek out prey, avoid predators, and find mates.
How do they do it? These denizens of the dark create light, called bioluminescence or “living light”, through a chemical reaction. It’s similar to what happens when you break the inner tube of a glowstick: luciferin, a pigment, reacts with oxygen to produce light. The same process used by fireflies.
Most deep-sea creatures give off – and can only see – blue-green light, which travels through water better than other wavelengths (colors) of light. However, there is one family of fish, the Malacoseids or Loosejaws, that produces red light. These fish can use their light to hunt, without being seen by predators or prey!
The Better to Eat You With…
And what’s with those crazy jaws?!? While they may seemed designed to give nightmares, there is an ecological reason for those toothsome grins. Food is scarce down there. With so few prey, it takes a lot of time and energy to find a meal – once they get their jaws around something, they’re not letting go.
These photos come from a 2002 NOAA* expedition: “Islands in the Stream 2002: Exploring Underwater Oases,” available on the NOAA Ocean Explorer website. “Ocean Explorer is an educational Internet offering for all who wish to learn about, discover, and virtually explore the ocean realm.” Check it out!
Here’s another cool resource about the deep-sea: the Deep-sea Creatures Database at Sea and Sky.
We Take Requests
This week’s waterful post goes out by request to Lisa E. Arlt, a lovely person and talented writer whom I had the pleasure of chatting with this past weekend. As Lisa reminded me, once a writer, always a writer, no matter what life throws your way. Check out her writing and travels (she’s a former foreign service officer) here.
Have an idea for a Wonderful Waterful post? Let me know in the comments section below!
Science Swag Giveaway – last chance to enter!
For the rest of the week (through April 1st), leave a comment and get entered into a drawing for one of the fab science calendars that I picked up at the AAAS conference last month. (You can check out my posts on the conference here and here). Each comment = an entry, so feel free to check out some older posts and comment on those too. Following this blog via Facebook will also get you an entry. Linking to this site from yours will get you TWO entires per link. Act now – the giveaway ends April 1st!
Danielle Meitiv is an oceanographer by training, an advocate for all things marine and a writer of science fiction and non-fiction. Danielle is also a huge fan and sales affiliate of Holly Lisle’s online courses: How to Think Sideways: Career Survival School for Writers, and How to Revise Your Novel. Follow @Danielle_Meitiv on Twitter, and on Facebook: Brave Blue Words, and Danielle Meitiv.