Today’s Solutions: October 24, 2021

The ability for living organisms to produce visible light through a chemical reaction is known as bioluminescence, and it’s one of the most spectacular phenomenons found in nature.

Bioluminescence has been observed in a wide range of marine life such as jellyfish and algae, but recently, marine biologists came across the phenomenon in a trio of different sharks.

During a fish survey off the east coast of New Zealand, scientists observed three different sharks glowing deep beneath the waves: the blackbelly lanternshark, the southern lanternshark, and the kitefin shark, with the latter being the largest-known luminous vertebrate ever observed. All three species were found to have glowing underbellies, and all of them live in the “twilight” zone of the ocean where sunlight does not penetrate.

In a paper published in the Frontiers in Marine Science journal, the scientists hypothesize that the kitefin shark, which has little to no predators, might use its natural glow to illuminate the ocean floor while it searches for food, or to disguise itself in approaching its prey. That hypothesis must still be confirmed, as well as a number of different questions about the sharks’ glow.

“The luminous pattern of the Kitefin shark was unknown and we are still very surprised by the glow on the dorsal fin,” said Jérôme Mallefet, lead researcher from the Marine Biology Laboratory of the Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium. “Why? For which purpose?”

Image source: Dr. J. Mallefet — FNRS, UCLouvain

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

Algae wrapped in droplets improves efficiency of artificial photosynthesis

In our quest for the most sustainable, most renewable sources of energy, humanity continues to look to nature for inspiration. One of nature’s most efficient energy systems is photosynthesis, which is how plants convert sunlight, ... Read More

Evidence shows Vikings arrived in Americas nearly 500 years before Columbus

Researchers have known for a while that Vikings from Greenland founded the village of L’Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland around the turn of the millennium, but now, a study published in Nature has finally pinpointed ... Read More

Egypt’s State Council swears-in the nation’s first female judges

Egypt’s State Council was established in 1946 and is an independent judicial body that deals with administrative disputes, disciplinary cases, appeals, reviews draft laws, decisions, and contracts that involve the government or a government-run body. ... Read More

Is group or individual work more productive? Here’s what science says

Are you a group project person or do you prefer to fly solo? We all have our work preferences, but what does science say about teamwork and productivity? A new study conducted by Quartz aims ... Read More

Wildlife filmaker provides a unique insight into the daily lives of bees

You may have seen bees flying around your backyard or local park, but it can be difficult for the naked human eye to grasp the full complexity of the lives of these pollinators. During the ... Read More