What does bioluminescence tell us about life in the ocean?

Dr. Edie Widder

More than 75% of sea creatures produce their own light. How do they do it, and what can we learn from this incredible marine firework display?

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You may have seen pictures of glowing plankton on the surface of the sea at night. You may even have seen this incredible phenomenon with your own eyes.

You'll probably be surprised to learn that over three-quarters of marine creatures have this remarkable ability (and not just plankton and jellyfish, but all kinds of other invertebrates and fish too, including sharks). Given that the oceans make up more than 70% of the Earth's surface, it's likely that bioluminescence is the most common form of communication on the planet.

Dr. Edie Widder is one of the world's foremost experts in bioluminescence, and she has made over 200 dives in submersibles to study the range of organisms that display this extraordinary ability. Edie joins us in The Garden to share the fascinating science behind the deep-sea's firework display, and what it tells us about life under the ocean.

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50 minutes


Amazing Oceans

About the Fellow

Dr. Edie Widder

Edie Widder is one of the world's leading experts in bioluminescence. Her pioneering oceanographic work has included being part of the first team to capture a giant squid on film.

Amazing Oceans Collection

Covering almost three-quarters of the Earth, our amazing oceans are vast, beautiful, scary and relatively unexplored. This collection brings to the surface fascinating insights and stories across ocean science, conservation and culture.