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What is colorful black? Fluorescent night diving gives you the answer

Time:2022-11-27 08:12:07 author:Zoo Read:727次
What is colorful black? Fluorescent night diving gives you the answer

The reticulated catshark is one of 200 species of marine animals that biofluoresces, fluorescing green in the deep ocean off the coast of California. Surreal diving experiences like these help scientists better understand and protect marine life, and now tourists can try them too. PHOTO: DAVID GRUBER TEXT: STEPHANIE VERMILLION From paddling on glowing water to admiring the twinkling of fireflies, nature lovers around the world have a passion for bioluminescence. This eye-catching sight is usually seen in summer, and there are more captivating light shows in the animal kingdom. Some tourists are exploring the vast and mysterious world of bioluminescence in the ocean, where fish show lime-green patterns, corals sway in neon hues, and pale green seahorses look like alien creatures. way to explore? Fluorescent diving, once the exclusive activity of marine biologists. "It's like being on another planet," says veteran diver Alisha Postma, co-founder of scuba diving blog Dive Buddies 4 Life. Like many oceanic phenomena, bioluminescence may also come from other planets. According to NASA, more than 80 percent of the ocean has never been explored by humans, and we know more about the lunar surface than the Earth's ocean floor. We're just getting started with topics like bioluminescence. Scientists have been following the phenomenon for the past decade, says marine biologist and National Geographic Explorer David Gruber. He has made several breakthroughs on the subject, including a 2019 study in which he discovered molecules that produce glowing effects in animals. Until now, the scientific community had been ignorant of the existence of these molecules. He was also involved in a 2014 study demonstrating that biofluorescence is widespread in more than 200 species of fish. His research shows that certain sharks, and even reptiles including turtles, glow in the dark -- a revolutionary discovery that National Geographic named one of the top 20 discoveries of the early 2000s . Gruber tells us that bioluminescent diving and snorkeling trips can make the most familiar reefs and dive sites look new. "Those who thought they had seen the sea and knew it well were shocked at that moment," he said. It's not just the bright colors in the ocean that are novel to us, "these animals are sharing secrets with us", it's our responsibility to use this knowledge to protect them. What is biofluorescence? Preparing for a night dive is simple: "Put the yellow mask on, turn on the blue light, and all of a sudden it's all on, especially the reefs," Gruber said. As for why, the situation is a bit more complicated. Just as animals listen in different ways (bats, for example, communicate primarily on frequencies beyond our hearing range), they also see the world in different ways. Under white light, this three-finned turtle appears orange. But if we add blue light and yellow filters to the lens, we can capture the fluorescent reaction, which turns into an amazing red. Photography: DAVID GRUBER The so-called bioluminescence refers to the fact that when blue light hits the surface of animals, it emits different colors, usually bright green, orange and red, which is different from bioluminescence, that is, animals such as jellyfish and fireflies emit their own light through chemical reactions. Oceans add to the complexity of this phenomenon. Although humans can see red, green and blue light, they have poor vision underwater. As depth increases, certain wavelengths of color in the visible light spectrum are filtered out. At a depth of 6 meters, the red disappears; below 30 meters, it is almost all blue and green, until the dark midnight zone at a depth of 900 meters. Many marine animals that live near the bottom of the ocean have evolved yellow eye filters to help them detect the bioluminescence of other fish. However, humans need special equipment, such as yellow mask filters and blue diving lights, to see the kaleidoscopic colors of these creatures underwater. Into this mysterious world Eric Albinsson of the Association of Professional Diving Instructors (PADI), the global authority on diving, tells us that fluorescent diving is like an exotic adventure, and it is becoming more common in dive centers around the world. He said, as long as there is "tropical waters and healthy coral," anywhere will do. Unlike bioluminescence, which is most common in summer, visitors can see bioluminescence all year round. Humans wouldn't be able to see the neon colors of Red Sea corals without a yellow filter that blocks blue light. PHOTOGRAPH BY DAVID GRUBER The only requirement for fluorescent diving is certification to the Open Water Standard from PADI, the organization's night diving specialty course that promises improved safety in dark environments. It is wise to try a few night dives first (both for safety and to protect vulnerable species) under the light of a flashlight. "You should avoid ups and downs, disturbing the seafloor," Postma said. She has performed fluorescent diving several times in the Caribbean island of Bonaire. Renowned for its healthy (but increasingly threatened) coral reefs, Bonaire is also a hot spot for fluorescent diving. According to PADI, this is one of the first locations to offer fluorescent diving for diving enthusiasts. Lars Bosman, of the Buddy Dive Resort in Bonaire, said the activity allows divers to see creatures they miss during the day, such as sea anemones or hairy fish hiding on the seafloor. A highly camouflaged species on the seafloor known as the "mystery fish" is 70 times more luminous than more visible creatures, an Australian study has revealed. When marine biologist David Gruber and colleagues photographed bioluminescent corals, a green eel (like the one pictured above) appeared in the picture, the first time he noticed bioluminescence in fish. PHOTOGRAPH BY DAVID GRUBER In recent years, tourist attractions in Thailand and the Maldives have made fluorescent snorkeling available to non-divers. “Some of the corals in the Maldives are shallow, (so) fluorescent snorkeling and fluorescent diving are interesting,” said Ahmed Mujthaba, owner of Mujavaz Scuba and Travels. Mujthaba points out that staying away from light pollution makes bioluminescent hues more vibrant. EXPLORE AND CONSERVE Whether you're trying fluorescent snorkeling for the first time, or an experienced marine biologist, you're sure to leave with new questions about the ocean. "It's like an ongoing mystery novel," Gruber said. Gruber first noticed bioluminescence in fish when he was studying photos of bioluminescent corals when he spotted a fluorescent green eel. In the past decade, scientists have found bioluminescence in more than 200 species of fish, including two species of cat sharks and sea turtles. But there is little research on how and why these marine animals glow, and scientists have more questions than answers. Possible explanations for bioluminescence include: inter-species communication, mate search, camouflage to avoid predators, and prey capture. It's the first bioluminescent species to be discovered in the Arctic: a mottled lionfish that glows green and red; it's rare to see multiple fluorescent colors in one animal. PHOTO: DAVID GRUBER To unravel these mysteries and better understand the effects of light, Gruber and his team created cameras that mimic the eyes of bioluminescent marine animals and see the world from their point of view. After discovering that catsharks had bioluminescence, they fitted the cameras with special filters that simulated how light hit their eyes. This brought two important pieces of information: catsharks can see their own green biofluorescence, and they also increase the contrast of the fluorescent patterns. Their research is not only important to the scientific community, but also lays the groundwork for better ocean protection. After all, the more we know about marine life, the better we can protect them. Best place to experience marine bioluminescence Florida: Pura Vida Divers near West Palm Beach has themed night dives year-round, including fluorescent dives. Bonaire: Buddy Dive Shop arranges diving trips throughout the year, follow them and soak up the amazing fluorescence of Bonaire! Thailand: On Koh Phangan, a small island in the Gulf of Thailand, Blue Horizon Divers offers fluorescent diving and snorkelling trips. Maldives: Mujthaba of Mujavaz Scuba and Travels coordinates diving expeditions, including fluorescent diving. Blue Journeys at Park Hyatt Maldives also offers fluorescent diving and snorkeling near the hotel's coral reefs.

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