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Hi Everyone! Squirt here! Are you ready to learn some more about bioluminescence and the amazing Dragonfish?

Bioluminescence means “living light” and is the light produced by a living organism due to a chemical reaction. A chemical reaction is a change in structure or energy of compounds. In bioluminescence, chemical energy is converted into light and heat. The light is what causes the glowing we see. What is amazing about bioluminescence is that almost all of the energy is converted into light rather than heat! This is in contrast to what happens when you turn on a lamp where most of the energy is converted to heat rather than light.

In nature, bioluminescent organisms produce light in a variety of colors from violet to red to green to blue. It’s estimated that 90% of all animals in the twilight depths of the ocean (200 – 1000 meters) are bioluminescent, including some of my squid cousins! Other types of organisms that are bioluminescent in the ocean, including jellyfish, bacteria, and fishes. Many of these organisms emit blue-green light, as these colors are the most easily visible in the deep ocean .

Remember the Dragonfish the DEEPEND scientists caught in the MOCNESS nets?  We saw all of its teeth and the barbel hanging down from its chin. The barbel glows as chemical energy is changed into light energy. As the barbel glows the Dragonfish can use it to attract food. I would find a glowing object interesting enough to see what it is, wouldn't you? Yikes, I guess I would be someone's food!

Scientist Dante took some more pictures. Let's take a more detailed look at them! Look at the beautiful color and texture of the Dragonfish’s skin. It kind of looks like goosebumps! The Dragonfish also has photophores. Photophores are organs that produce light.

If you look closely here you can see red photophores that are near the eye of the fish. These photophores only emit red light. This is important because very few animals can see red light deep in the ocean. But, the Dragonfish can see this red light and he can use the light to hunt for food.

The Dragonfish also has feathery gills. Check them out! They remind me of bird feathers!  We can also see more photophores. Notice how they seem to be everywhere on the fish.  Dragonfishes may use photophores on their sides and even their tails to recognize other individuals of the same species, even the opposite sex, in the dark. They might also be used to confuse predators. Or maybe they use them to send secret messages to other fish!


 The Dragonfish is a pretty spectacular animal! I'm excited to see what else the scientists have to share with us next.



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Posted by on in News

Hello again, Squirt here! Are you ready to learn about the photo lab aboard the RV/Point Sur? I am!


The MOCNESS nets catch a lot of animals. Remember how the scientists take notes and records on all the animals? Well, if the scientists find a really cool or strange animal they take it to the photo lab. The photo lab is located on the front of the deck of the ship.


Scientists take photographs (pictures) of the animals in the photo lab. These photographs get added to the notes and records that scientist April enters into the computer. Scientists capture details of how the animals look by taking photographs. Just like when someone takes a photograph of you, say cheese! Let's take a look inside the photo lab. There are lights, tanks, and cameras that the scientists need to get a good photograph.


 After the scientists take photographs, the animals are returned to the main lab (where the scientists sorted and identified the animals) to be frozen. Let's check out some of the photographs that have been taken already!

Remember the Fangtooth that Scientists Dante was holding in the blog post about Ink? Here is a photograph that he took in the photo lab. Check out those teeth now! Ouch, that would hurt if he bit you!



Scientist Dante also took a photograph of the Dragonfish. It has lots of small looking teeth! Check out the barbel hanging down from its chin. The end of the barbel glow through a process called biolumenescence (bio-lu-mi-nes-cence). We will learn more about this later. The Dragonfish can use the glowing barbel to attract food just like the Anglerfish did in Finding Nemo! Pretty electrifying!



I can't wait to see what the scientists discover next!




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Hi everyone, Squirt here! I have another update from the scientists to share. the MOCNESS nets are catching a lot of animals and all of the DEEPEND scientists are busy! Once the MOCNESS nets are emptied on the deck of the ship, the scientists really get to work. The animals are first sorted by type. There are so many different kinds!



Then the scientists identify each individual animal. Scientist Tracey identifies the fishes.



Another scientists identifies the crustaceans (shrimps and crawfishes). The scientists take lots of notes about each animal, such as its size, coloration, and if it's healthy or not.



After identifying each animal, the scientists collect a small piece of tissue to later study its DNA. DNA stands for deoxyribonucleic acid. Let's sound that one out together: de-ox-y-ri-bo-nu-cle-ic ac-id. You did it! DNA is the instruction for life in each animal. One instruction that DNA give is how each animal looks.




Scientist April then enters all of the notes into the computer. She is responsible for the master copy of all the notes and records. Scientist April also keeps notes about where the animals were caught and at what depth. She answers questions like: How deep were the animals? What temperature is the water? How salty is the water?



After all the information is recorded, some of the animals are frozen. Other animals go on to the photo lab. See our next post on what happens at the photo lab! Isn't it exciting?







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Posted by on in News


Squirt is excited that the scientists caught Ink in the MOCNESS net. Ink is a baby Atlantic Longarm Octopus (Macrotritopus defilippi). Remember the italicized name is a scientific name. Let's sound this one out together: Mac-ro-tri-to-pus def-il-ip-pi. Whew, we did it! Those will get easier with practice. The word "octopus" means "eight limbs." If you look closely at Ink you will see that he has eight limbs. Imagine if you had eight limbs, wouldn't that be strange!



The MOCNESS net caught some other cool animals including a couple of fishes: a Fangtooth (Anoplogaster cornuta) and  a Dragonfish (Echinostoma barbatum). Scientist Dante is holding the Fangtooth. My look at those teeth! In our next couple of posts we will tell you about what the scientists do once they have animals onboard!



Remember that if you have any questions just leave them in the comments and one of the scientists will try to answer your question!

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