Monday, 2 May 2016

Deep-dwelling sharks may glow to communicate with each other

Chiara Palazzo, sydney 28 APRIL 2016 • 4:27AM

Some deep-dwelling sharks may glow to communicate with each other, scientists have said.

While biofluorescence, or glowing, has been long observed in corals, scientists have recently found it in shark, sea turtles and more marine vertebrate. 

A new research, published in nature journal Scientific Reports, found that two species of deep-dwelling catsharks both absorb the blue light of the ocean and reemit it as green fluorescent light. 

Scientists believe that the fact that these sharks can see the biofluorescent patterns they emit while other predators lack the same visual capability "is suggestive of a communication/species recognition role for fluorescence." The same phenomenon was also observed in Round stingrays.

Dr David Gruber, lead author of the research, said that as he was filming biofluorescent corals when his team was "photobombed" by a green fluorescent fish in 2014. The episode "blew me away" the coral biologist said in a TED Talk. The eel was the first biofluorescent vertebrae ever observed. 

Dr Gruber decided to temporarily abandon his corals and team up with fish scientist John Sparks to investigate the episode further. They have so far found 180 species of biofluorescent fish.

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