A Flash In A Bucket

(c) agentlebossanova / flickr 

I have bioluminescence on the brain.  I regularly conduct plankton tows within the Indian River Lagoon system that yield a scatting of amphipod larvae, veliger stages for snails, mysids, nauplii from any number of crustaceans, and copepods galore.  Right now there are plenty of comb jellyfish (which aren’t really jellyfish at all but belong to the ctenophore group) as well. 

I’m sure contained in these samples are plenty of bioluminescent phytoplankton. The IRL system regularly produces blooms of such plankton at certain points of the year and smacks of comb jellies are themselves bioluminescent.  Wherever they congregate, feeding on plankton, if disturbed they exhibit a brilliant flash of greenish blue cold light. 

Yesterday I brought home a bucket of lagoon water and left it in the kitchen for use in the morning.  During the night I got up to check on a noise and accidentally kicked the bucket and the disturbance caused a brilliant green flash inside the container.  I was so surprised that in my half awake state the unexpected brightness actually made me jump!  I continued to disturb the water and the flashes of light gradually faded like the ebbing of a battery on a flashlight. 

This, of course, makes me want to go out on a night kayak in the IRL to harass more plankton into emitting its own variation of natural cold fireworks. 

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One Comment to “A Flash In A Bucket”

  1. That’s called taking your work home with you. But these days isn’t life more about blending than balancing. Interesting post.