Bioluminescence is described as when an organism produces and emits light. Light emitted by these bioluminescent living organisms is derived from energy that is released associated with chemical reactions that are either ejected or occur inside these organisms. Fireflies are known as bioluminescent organisms and when it comes to the ocean there are a variety of these creatures around.
While the specific functions related to bioluminescence is not known for every type of animal, in most cases this reaction occurs to evade or warn predators or to detect or lure prey. This reaction is also used as a form of communication that occurs between other animals that are classified as the same in species. The communication can be used to attract species of the opposite sex or warn others of nearby danger.
Physical Properties Of Bioluminescence
In the ocean, bioluminescent light will be concentrated in what is known as the “blue window” of the largest optical transparency of the seawater. The majority of the organisms emit between a concentration of 440nm and 479nm. A few of the cnidarians posses’ green-fluorescent proteins that first absorb blue emission that shifts to a green.
The majority of the dinoflagellates emit approximately 6e8 photons in the form of a flash that lasts about 0.1 seconds. However, the larger organisms like the jelly-fish typically emit 2e11 photons that can last up to 10s of seconds. Intensity related to luminescence in the dinoflagellates is highly influenced by the sunlight from the day before. This means the brighter the sunlight was the brighter the flashes.
Some of the organisms emit a light continuously, however the majority, typically emit flashes. In the multicellular species this luminescence is normally neutrally controlled. In the fireflies this transmitter is known as glutamate and in the majority of marine invertebrates these transmitters are mostly unknown.