A team of researchers led by scientists from the American Museum of Natural History has released the first report of widespread biofluorescence in the tree of life of fishes, identifying more than 180 species that glow in a wide range of colors and patterns. Published today in PLOS ONE, the research shows that biofluorescence — a phenomenon by which organisms absorb light, transform it, and eject it as a different color — is common and variable among marine fish species, indicating its potential use in communication and mating. The report opens the door for the discovery of new fluorescent proteins that could be used in biomedical research. “We’ve long known about biofluorescence underwater in organisms like corals, jellyfish, and even in land animals like butterflies and parrots, but fish biofluorescence has been reported in only a few research publications,” said co-lead author John Sparks, a curator in the Museum’s Department of Ichthyology. “This paper is the first to look at the wide distribution of biofluorescence across fishes, and it opens up a number of new research areas.” Read more here!
Great white sharks — top predators throughout the world’s ocean — grow much slower and live significantly longer than previously thought, according to a new study led by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI).