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Underwater lightnings explained

Many Pacific Island navigators have reported finding land by following mysterious streaks of light that extend between islands quite some distance away, and they report that it is not the ordinary kind of bioluminescence kicked up in the wakes of canoes.

It is known, however, that fish can create streaks of light from pressure waves. NatSciDemo decided to see if we could create something that they thought looked like underwater lightning by using a trough of sea water containing dinoflagellates. Dinoflagellates are single celled organisms that photosynthesize during the day and have flagella attached. At night, when a pressure disturbance hits them, they emit light.

NatSciDemos pulled a segmented lure (Rapella is the manufacturer) through a tank filled with dinoflagellates in their night-time phase to see if it produced a result resembling 'underwater lightning'.

You judge the resultN


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