Fish that Glow Underwater

John Sparks, curator in the American Museum of Natural History’s Department of Ichthyology, and David Gruber, associate professor of biology at Baruch College and a research associate at the AMNH, discuss a recent study that found widespread biofluorescence in fishes, identifying more than 180 species that glow in a wide range of colors and patterns. Published in PLOS ONE, the  report looks at why so many marine species emit light. They'll talk about how the research may lead to the discovery of new fluorescent proteins that could be used in biomedical research.

Researchers discovered a rich diversity of fluorescent patterns and colors in marine fishes, as exemplified here.
Researchers discovered a rich diversity of fluorescent patterns and colors in marine fishes, as exemplified here.

A). swell shark (Cephaloscyllium ventriosum); B). ray (Urobatis jamaicensis); C). sole (Soleichthys heterorhinos); D). flathead (Cociella hutchinsi); E). lizardfish (Saurida gracilis); F). frogfish (Antennarius maculatus); G). stonefish (Synanceia verrucosa); H). false moray eel (Kaupichthys brachychirus); I). Chlopsidae (Kaupichthys nuchalis); J). pipefish (Corythoichthys haematopterus); K). sand stargazer (Gillellus uranidea); L). goby (Eviota sp.); M). Gobiidae (Eviota atriventris); N). surgeonfish (Acanthurus coeruleus, larval); O). threadfin bream (Scolopsis bilineata).

( © American Museum of Natural History )
A triplefin blennie (Enneapterygius sp.) under white light (above) and blue light (below).
A triplefin blennie (Enneapterygius sp.) under white light (above) and blue light (below). ( ©American Museum of Natural History/J. Sparks and D. Gruber )
A green biofluorescent chain catshark (Scyliorhinus retifer)
A green biofluorescent chain catshark (Scyliorhinus retifer) ( © American Museum of Natural History/J. Sparks, D. Gruber, and V. Pieribone )
of