JAN 12, 2017 3:27 PM PST

Glow Power - The Chemistry of Bioluminescence

WRITTEN BY: Akshay Masand

Much like the creatures form the land of Pandora in James Cameron’s Avatar, glowing (or bioluminescent) animals have a certain mystique to them. Perhaps it’s due to the rarity us humans get to see them on land that we want to catch them in mason jars and keep them forever.

The truth of the matter is that glowing creatures are quite common, at least in the deep sea. In fact, an astounding 80-90 percent of the animals in the open ocean have some element of bioluminescence. These fascinating creatures have taken hundreds of millions of years to evolved and shine some light on the purpose of these chemical reactions.

While captivating to look at, this chemical phenomenon is not just for vanity. Many of these creatures use their glowing mutant powers to breed, feed and even evade predators. They have even proven useful to humans. European coal miners would use dried fish skins as a light source down in the mines. These creatures have even worked their way into folklore around the world. In Victorian England fireflies were harbingers of death. In Bengal, swallowing one would cure blindness. And in the South, a firefly in the house signals good luck.

 

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About the Author
  • As an experienced marketer who has learned the ropes from the ground up, I now lead the marketing for LabRoots and am constantly looking for new ways to reach a wider audience!
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