Lifelong Learning – Beacons of the Deep

491838485by Joe Francis

Before modern cameras and technology, the inky blackness of the deep barred its mysteries from human eyes. But now these wonders are coming to light. For the first time, our generation is privileged to behold this alien world, teeming with life.

As the Johnson Sea-Link submersible plows through the dark water, hundreds of feet below the surface, lights flash constantly all over the front of the camera. Surprised by the alien craft, tiny creatures spark and flash in protest. Ninety percent of deep-sea creatures may produce some sort of light.

This light amazes scientists. On land only a few creatures, such as fireflies and glowworms, possess this miraculous ability. But in the deep, where sunlight never penetrates, God has designed a variety of alternative light sources.

Light is essential for most animals’ survival—finding food, avoiding danger, and locating a mate. Deep-sea animals possess lights for all these purposes; and in fact, some creatures are equipped with several different lighting systems.

Search for Food

Predators often carry lights to spot potential meals. Located around the eyes, these lights work rather like car headlights to pierce the darkness, exposing something to eat.

Other predators are more cunning. The deep-sea anglerfish, for example, dangles a bright lure near its mouth, waiting for its next meal to fall into the trap. Certain squid, such as the whiplash squid, dangle lights at the end of their tentacles like a wriggling harness of fishing bait. Similarly, the stinging tentacles of Continue Reading…

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