Did you know that the ocean is divided into three zones based on depth and light level? The zone just below the surface is know as the sunlight zone, this area is about 625 feet deep. Zone two is called the twilight zone because very little sunlight is able to reach this depth, which is about 3,280 feet.
And zone three, where sunlight does not penetrate at all, is properly named the midnight zone. Surprisingly many species of ocean life can thrive in the darkness that surrounds them at this depth, and many deep sea creatures are able to survive through a marvelous adaptation known as bioluminescence.
Bioluminescence is the ability for organisms to produce their own light through chemical reactions. Most bioluminescent organisms living in the ocean use their light for a variety of reasons. Some use bioluminescence to protect themselves by shining their light to stun predators, while others will use their light creating abilities to attract prey.
The light show produced by these amazing animals can be beautiful, and you can see some of the most incredible bioluminescent sea creatures in action through our collection 5 amazing YouTube videos about bioluminescence and 1 about biofluorescence.
1. Bioluminescence on Camera by National Geographic
This video from National Geographic brings you up close to many bioluminescent sea creatures including squid and cuttlefish. Watch the vibrant blue light emit from these amazing animals!
2. Bioluminescent Jellyfish by Vince Patton
Watching jellyfish float in aquariums can be mesmerizing. Jellyfish seem to dance when they gently swim with the water’s current, but add some lights and the sight becomes beautifully haunting! This short video taken at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California features some of our ocean’s most colorful jellyfish.
3. Dinoflagellates – Life That Glows by New Videos
Have you heard of the phenomenon know as a blue tide? A blue tide occurs when species of phytoplankton called dinoflagellates rapidly grow in population and give off a bright blue light when the tiny microorganisms are whirled around, like tides are crashing. What is most interesting is that dinoflagellates only produce light at night due to their own internal clock. Take a deep dive into the subject of dinoflagellates with this video narrated by David Attenborough.
4. Amazing and Weird Creatures Exhibit Bioluminescence by BBC Earth
Not all bioluminescent animals are cute and cuddly, some have a monstrous look: with sharp extending teeth and a protruding bluish bulb, the anglerfish uses its bioluminescent angler to catch the attention of it’s prey for a quick lunch.
5. Edith Widder: Glowing life in an underwater world by Ted Talks
Edith Widder notes that between 80 to 90 percent of wildlife in the ocean produce their own light, making bioluminescence the rule not the exception. Widder shares her deep water research and incredible images of bioluminescent sea creatures in the fantastic TED Talk.
6. EXCLUSIVE: “Glowing” Sea Turtle Discovered by National Geographic
Biofluorescence is the ability of living organism to absorb high-energy light (like blue light) and re-emit low-energy light, which has beautiful bright green and red colors–think black light posters. Check out this amazing video of a biofluorescent sea turtle to see the wonderful colors for yourself.