Deep Sea Glow

A girl watches on as a boy looks down and through a black tube eyepiece sitting on a purple round table. To the left is a blue information panel.

Deep ocean environments have extremely low light levels, which has influenced animal adaptations.

How it works

Look through the eyepiece at deep ocean animals. Rotate the disc to see other animal examples.

Things to try or ask around the exhibit

  • Why do animals that live in the dark depths emit light?
  • How do some animals use light to hide from other animals?

Background

It is very dark at deeper levels of the ocean (more than 500 metres deep), because little sunlight reaches these layers. Most deep-sea animals have special light organs to produce blue-green light, known as bioluminescence. Animals use this light to hide from predators, communicate with other animals or attract and catch prey.

Finding the science in your world

Scientists can use bioluminescence to non-invasively study the movement of drug treatments through a person's bloodstream to act on a tumour.