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Squirt here to talk about bacteria!
Bacteria are microscopic organisms that can thrive in many different types of environments, including our oceans! Bacteria have a bad reputation for making people sick, but they can also be incredibly helpful.
For example; some anglerfish (seen above) cannot produce their own light. Remember, bioluminescence is a chemical process that allows an animal to produce its own light. So how do these anglerfish get their glow? Anglerfish actually borrow their light from bacteria! These tiny bacteria, called Photobacterium, live in the anglerfish's esca, or lure. In exchange the bacteria gains protection and nutrients as the fish swims through the ocean. Pretty neat, huh?
This is also a great example of a symbiotic relationship! A symbiotic relationship is a type of interaction between different species. Sometimes they're beneficial and sometimes they're harmful, but these relationships are essential to many organisms and ecosystems, and they provide a balance that can only be achieved by working together.
Did you know that DEEPEND has a special team that studies these bacteria? Lindsey Freed and Dr.Joe Lopez are working on determining the species of bacteria found on these lures because it turns out that each anglerfish species actually has a unique species of bacterium it's paired with!
No one really knows how many different species of luminescent bacteria there are in total or how these anglerfishes are getting their bacteria in the first place. So far, there are tow different ideas. Either there are bacteria floating around in the ocean waiting to be picked up by the correct anglerfish species, or, these fish are being introduced to this bacteria by their parent during their larval stage (seen below).
Which method do you think anglerfish are collecting their bacteria?
Good morning everyone. Today we are highlighting Lacey Malarky! She is another one of our DEEPEND graduate students. On board the R/V Point Sur cruise we had five graduate students. A graduate student is a college student who is working to earn a Masters or Doctoral degree. Lacey grew up in Kansas and moved to Florida to continue studying.
Ms.Malarky is a graduate student at Nova Southeastern University working on her Masters degree. She is interested in the amount of larval (or baby) flatfishes in the Gulf of Mexico. While flatfishes are usually found in coastal areas, or the transitions areas between land and sea, baby flatfish develop in offshore surface waters.
Larval (baby) Flatfish
Lacey helped the DEEPEND science team on this last cruise by keeping count and measuring all the fish that were collected. She also took charge of collecting and organizing all the data the team collected.
If you have any questions for Ms.Malarky leave them in the comments! Talk soon!