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Bioluminescence is light produced by an organism from chemical reactions in its own body. Fireflies are common land examples, but the deep ocean is full of bioluminescent plankton, jellyfish, shrimp, squid, and fish. You may see them off the bow of your boat at night or even sometimes along the beach shoreline in the waves.
Sea urchins might be using their feet to see! Researchers have found that sea urchins have light receptors on their tube feet - hundreds of tiny suction-like tubes which help them to move around. Next time you are out surfing or tide pooling take a closer look at these amazing creatures - but don’t touch!
Water is a unique molecule. Most liquids become denser as they cool down, but when water freezes, it becomes less dense, allowing ice to float. If ice did not float, a lot of animals would be in trouble. In fresh water ecosystems, animals rely on the top layer of water freezing over, which actually allows heat to be trapped underneath and keeps them alive through the winter.
So little is still understood about our deep oceans. One study recently discovered that the deep ocean had 898 species in an area about half the size of a tennis court. Over half of these species had never been identified before by scientists, and that’s not even including all the microscopic organisms that can be found.
Scientists in Canada got a surprise while doing studies on human forensics. To look at how bodies decompose, they tossed pig carcasses into so called "dead zones", areas of low oxygen in the ocean. However, much to their surprise, sharks, lobsters, and other scavengers risked going into these suffocating conditions and ate their experiment!
Researchers at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography at the University of San Diego are changing the way marine scientists can use microscopes to study life in the ocean. The team of researchers have successfully developed an underwater microscope (the Benthic Underwater Microscope, or BUM) that can observe marine organisms in their natural habitat at the scale of nearly one micron resolution. At this scale, the BUM is capable of imaging single cells underwater. To do this, it is built as a two-part system including a computer with a diver interface connected to an imaging unit. The imaging... (more)