Naturally occurring bioluminescence on the deep-sea floor

Jessica Craig* (Corresponding Author), Alan J. Jamieson, Philip M. Bagley, Imants G. Priede

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


In the deep sea, bioluminescence that is not stimulated by the observer is estimated to be extremely low. Observations of naturally occurring bioluminescence, using an ultra-low-light video camera, at a solitary rock populated with sessile fauna revealed bioluminescent activity was 155 times higher than predicted background levels at 2000-3000m. These findings, from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (49.022°N, 27.693°W), suggest that, at depths below the penetration of sunlight, complexity in the physical environment may influence the visual environment, with potential effects on the behaviour of mobile deep sea fauna, prompting a reappraisal of the visual environment in the deep sea.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)563-567
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Marine Systems
Issue number4
Early online date22 Jul 2011
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2011


  • spontaneous bioluminescence
  • naturally occurring bioluminescence
  • bioluminescent zooplankton
  • visual environment
  • deep sea
  • low-light camera
  • mid-Atlantic Ridge


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