Deep Secrets

Aug. 22, 2017

In the past weeks and months, I’ve realized, I have spent a lot of time on this blog writing about nasty things in our waterways: invasive species in the Great Lakes, algae blooms in the Gulf of Mexico and the Chesapeake Bay, scary-looking critters expanding their territory as ocean temperatures rise, plastic debris in the oceans and the various bans people have proposed to limit it, and even pollution in the deepest sea trenches. This week I’m back on the subject of oceans, but, I hope, in a less depressing vein.

This video on the New York Times’ website is all about bioluminescence—how deep-sea-dwelling creatures generate their own light, and why (usually to scare off predators). Filmed by the aptly named Steven Haddock, it includes some beautiful footage of jellyfish, shrimp, sea worms, and other creatures of the deep. About 75% of deep-sea dwellers, it turns out, are able to emit their own light.

Even if you’re already familiar with the phenomenon and don’t need the chemistry lesson included in the brief video, it’s worth watching just for the gorgeous photography. It’s a good reminder of the strange and incredible things in the world that we rarely have an opportunity to see, and of why we work to protect the environment they live in. The video is less than two minutes long and might just—dare I say it?—brighten your day.  

About the Author

Janice Kaspersen

Janice Kaspersen is the former editor of Erosion Control and Stormwater magazines.