What's glowing on the ocean? Bioluminescent Dinoflagella

This discussion topic submitted by Allison Miller ( Miller_al@hccai.hcca.org) at 4:02 pm on 4/10/00. Additions were last made on Saturday, December 7, 2002.

I thought the topic of bioluminescence would be very interesting to study and I knew that there were some things in the ocean that produced their own light. What I didn't realize when I began was that 90% of things that live in the ocean produce their own light! I was amazed! I also felt the need to limit my topic a little more. I teach 4th grade science and I want to research something that I can use in my curriculum. Dinoflagelletes became the answer because you can (supposedly) obtain cultures and observe the bioluminescence in a classroom. I am still trying to get in touch with a company that actually has these in stock. If anyone has any suggestions, I'd be very grateful. I've tried Carolina Biological Supply, Ward's, The University of Utah, and still trying to contact the University of Texas Culture Collection. I also think that this is an experiment that the students would love and be willing to work hard on!

I think that this is important because bioluminescence is prominent in marine organisms and it is cold light. Scientists have been studying it for many years and attempting to figure out how people may be able to beneficially use it.

This is a brief outline of what I'd like to discuss:

I. What is bioluminescence?
A. Physical properties
B. Chemical properties
C. Prevalance in marine organisms

II. Dinoflagellete Bioluminescence
A. What are dinoflagelletes
B. Purpose of bioluminescence
C. Basic physical and chemical properties
D. Examples

III. Bioluminscence in the Classroom (?-hopefully!)


1. http://lifesci.ucsb.edu/~biolum/
The Biolumenescence Web Page

2. http://siobiolum.ucsd.edu/
Scripps Institution of Oceanography

"Plankton Bioluminescence Stimulated by Dolphin Swimming," "A History of Marine Bioluminescence According to E.N. Harvey," "What is a Dinoflagellate?"
"Dinoflagellate Bioluminescence," "Bioluminescence Demonstrations"

3. J.W. Hastings. 1983. "Biological Diversity, chemical mechanisms, and the evolutionary origins of bioluminescent systems." Journal of Molecular Evolution, v. 19: p. 309-321.

4. http://www.hboi.edu/marine/biolum2

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It is 11:19:31 PM on Tuesday, February 21, 2017. Last Update: Saturday, December 7, 2002