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Spectral composition of bioluminescence of epipelagic organisms from the sargasso sea






Marine Biology (Berlin) 98(3): 441-446

Spectral composition of bioluminescence of epipelagic organisms from the sargasso sea

The spectral characteristics of single identified epipelagic sources of bioluminescence from the western Sargasso Sea were measured with an optical mutichannel and analyzer (OMA) system during the April, 1985, Biowatt cruise. The emission spectra of specimens representing 45 species from 8 phyla [Protozoa, Coelenterata, Ctenophora, Mollusca, Annedida, Crustacea, Tunicata and Pisces] were measured. Peak bioluminescence emissions typically occurred between 440 and 500 nm, in the blue region of the visible spectrum. Three exceptions involved emission in the green, yellow, and red spectral regions. Intraspecific variability in spectra was noted in several species. One shrimp species exhibited two modes of light emission, each with different emission spectra. Other cases involved dynamic color shifts of 10 to 14 nm; the source of the spectral variability is unknown, but may involve optical filtering or differences in the color of luminesence from multiple sites of light emission. Measurements from independent samples of unsorted plankton revealed different spectral distributions. This suggests that the spectral emissions of bioluminescence in the upper water column will vary, based on species assemblage.

Accession: 006459613

DOI: 10.1007/bf00391120

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