The brilliance of bioluminescence: A TED-Ed Lesson and TED Talk pairing


Did you know that there are animals that can actually create their own light? You’ve probably noticed this bioluminescence in the fireflies that might light up a park on a summer night. But there are also a lot of glowing fish and other sea creatures that hang out in the deepest, darkest depths of the ocean that use their luminous powers for survival, hunting and mating. In this TED-Ed blog series, we pair short, informative TED-Ed Lessons with longer, more in-depth TED Talks on the same subject. Today we ask the question: Which animals light up our curiosity?

To get primed on the subject, check out this 4-minute TED-Ed Lesson The brilliance of bioluminescence.  Leslie Kenna investigates the firefly, the anglerfish, and a few more surprising creatures that use bioluminescence in many ways — including survival, hunting, and mating. This lesson gives a good background on this magical glow – and our quest to replicate it.

Take a look at bioluminescence in action in this longer TED Talk The weird, wonderful world of bioluminescence by deep-sea biologist Edith Widder. In the deep, dark ocean, many sea creatures make their own light for hunting, mating and self-defense. Widder was one of the first to film this glimmering world. At TED2011, she brings some of her glowing friends onstage, and shows more astonishing footage of glowing undersea life.