In a few special places around the world, the ocean lights up at night with countless tiny blue flashes, thanks to bioluminescence – light produced by a chemical reaction in a living organism, as a strategy to hunt prey, defend against predators, find mates, and execute other vital activities.
Bioluminescence occurs widely in marine vertebrates and invertebrates, as well as in some fungi, in microorganisms such as bioluminescent bacteria, and in terrestrial arthropods such as fireflies.
The appearance of bioluminescent light varies greatly, depending on the habitat and organism in which it is found. For example, most marine bioluminescence is expressed in the blue-green part of the visible light spectrum. These colours are more easily visible in the deep ocean.
Learn more about bioluminescence here.
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