Biolumenesence (fwd)

From: Mike Williamson (
Date: Tue Feb 29 2000 - 13:06:13 EST

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 28 Feb 2000 21:25:37 -0500
From: Peter M Scheifele <>
Subject: Re: Biolumenesence

Dear Zac

Your question is a very good but complex. Bioluminescence is light that
is emitted from living organisms such as certain comb jellies and
planktonic organisms that inhabit the surface layer of the ocean. I
believe the comb jellies are from the phylum Ctenophora. There are deep
ocean fish(such as Angler Fish and Viperfishthat inhabit depths of 1000 -
10,000 feet) that also make use of bioluminescence. Some of these
organisms use this trait to lure prey. This characteristic is inherent
to the animals that have it. I am unsure of what possible evolutionary
changes these organisms have undergone to achieve this especailly since
many of them are primitive. I'm also unclear about terrestrial species.

Phosphorescence, on the other hand, is a "glow" or luminescence that
continues to come from an object even after the light source has been
removed. Note that the term "luminescence" implies a
temperature-dependent relationship. This indicates a relationship
between luminescence (or bioluminescence) and phosphorescence in a
physical sense. In both cases there is some source that initiates a
photon crossing say, a proton to give light energy and the primary
chemical substance that facilitates this is luciferin.

I am unsure as to the chemical nature of luciferin however, being a
physicist I would approach it from an atomic perspective. That is, a
photon being a massless subatomic quanta of the electromagnetic field.
You can find more about this wonderful subject at <>.

Good luck!

On Sun, 27 Feb 2000 22:17:55 -0600 Sharon Hafez <> writes:
> Dear Ask and Expert,
> My name is Zac Hafez, im a sophmore in highschool, and im doing a
> report for my chemistry class. I was in the need of some answers
> and am
> turning to you for some much needed guidance.
> We were to pick a catagory that refers to chemistry, so I chose
> Biolumenesence. I looked in books and I am just in need of some
> more
> explanation.
> I was wondering if you could explain to me exactly what
> Biolumenesence
> is. How it is used. Why it is used. What adaptations were
> required to
> be able to do this. I know that the only land animal that can do it
> is
> the firefly.
> Is there any similarities between the light used in biolumenesence,
> and
> phosphoresence? Or, what are phosphoresence?
> At what depths is this ablity found? and in what types of sea
> creatures?
> These are some questions that i've had about this topic. If you
> could
> answer them, or tell me where i could fins the information to answer
> these questions, i'd be greatly apprecieated.
> thank you for your time, though if you can not answer them, that is
> fine
> too. I was just looking for some answeres.
> Thank you again, Zac

Peter M. Scheifele
129 Hunters Road, Norwich, CT 06360

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Sat Aug 04 2001 - 10:40:12 EDT