A Glowing Ocean
00 deg 28'N
Longitude: 91 deg 21W
Wind Direction: S
Wind Speed: 22 Knots
Sea State 4
Swell(s) Height: 3-6 Foot
Sea Temperature: 74°F (23.3°C)
Barometric Pressure: 1014.2 MB
Visibility: 12 Nautical Miles
Egg croissant sandwiches
Bacon, ham and sausage
(Dried cereal is always available in the pantry) OJ in a bucket
Fried shrimp and calamari
Rice Krispies treats
Dan Fornaris Italian pasta dinner
Spicy marinara sauce
Spinach pesto sauce
Sausage and vegetables sauce
Chocolate mousse and sponge cake
September 7, 2001
by Christina Reed
At night, on the side of the bow away from the moon, we can look
over the edge of the ships rails and see something magical.
The dark ocean, cut by the bow of the ship, suddenly turns
sparkly blue-green and the wake glows as if filled with millions
of fire flies.
We are churning the ocean and disturbing thousands
of microscopic organisms, called plankton, which live near the
ocean surface. The cold, deep Humboldt Current water, upwelling
around the Galápagos, fills the upper ocean with plankton.
When disturbed, some plankton emit light or bioluminescence. Bio is
another word for life and luminescence means
light. Bioluminescence is always such a treat to see, Kate
Bioluminescence occurs in many different types
of marine animals and in invertebrates on land. For example fire
fly species have unique signals they flash to identify their
mates. But mammals, reptiles, birds and amphibians lack this
For fish and animals living in the deep-sea,
light can attract prey. It may also be useful for communication.
But how this light process works in each species and why it is
important remains a mystery for scientists to solve. Bioluminescence
results from oxidation of special types of organic compounds.
But, because deep-sea animals are hard to observe and study,
not much is known about this process.
Deep sea biologists have many theories, Kate says. If a
predator is chasing an animal that starts glowing brightly, the predator may
be distracted. Many kinds of jelly fish under attack will release a bioluminescent
tentacle as a trick, leaving the rest of the jelly to escape.
In Antarctica, when the weather is calm, some
single-celled organisms travel in caravans on the surface of
the ocean. We saw a trail of plankton on
the water and passed right through the middle of them, Eric Wakeman says. On
either side of the ship, waves of plankton as far as we could see on the horizon
As Revelle steams on through the night, surveying
the seafloor, we are treated to our own private light show on
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