You Light Up My Lure

You Light Up My Lure

When an Angler Fish lights up its lure to attract unsuspecting prey, the light comes courtesy of bacteria who share a mutually beneficial relationship with the fish. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Heidelberg: Bioluminescence that I’m interested in is the bacterial bioluminescence, and these are when the bacteria can actually produce chemicals that allow them to glow in the dark.

John Heidelberg is the Associate Director of the Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies and the Principle Investigator of an Earthwatch team on Catalina Island a great place to study bioluminescent bacteria.

Heidelberg: So these bacteria live in symbiotic relationships with a lot of higher organisms. Things like the famous angler fish from Finding Nemo, and when they’re in this symbiotic relationship, the bacteria produce a light that the fish gets a benefit from, and the bacteria gets food and protection from the host animal.
So, these angler fish are fish that live in the deep ocean. They’re never up at the surface and they have a bioluminescent lure, a little lure over the top of their head that glows in the dark. That lure’s job is to bring prey into these angler fish that want to eat the small fish that come by. The light that’s coming from that lure are very dense populations of bacteria that are glowing in the dark.
So both of the organisms are getting positive effects out of this. The bacteria are getting food and oxygen being produced are being brought in by the fish, so that they are growing very fast and can produce the light. The fish are getting the benefit of that light is attracting prey for them to eat.

We’ll hear more about bioluminescence in future programs. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Check out my new podcast with astronomer Bob Berman at Astounding Universe.com

You Light Up My Lure

A mutually beneficial relationship between a fish and bacteria.
Air Date:02/01/2018
Scientist:
Transcript:

You Light Up My Lure

When an Angler Fish lights up its lure to attract unsuspecting prey, the light comes courtesy of bacteria who share a mutually beneficial relationship with the fish. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Heidelberg: Bioluminescence that I'm interested in is the bacterial bioluminescence, and these are when the bacteria can actually produce chemicals that allow them to glow in the dark.

John Heidelberg is the Associate Director of the Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies and the Principle Investigator of an Earthwatch team on Catalina Island a great place to study bioluminescent bacteria.

Heidelberg: So these bacteria live in symbiotic relationships with a lot of higher organisms. Things like the famous angler fish from Finding Nemo, and when they're in this symbiotic relationship, the bacteria produce a light that the fish gets a benefit from, and the bacteria gets food and protection from the host animal.
So, these angler fish are fish that live in the deep ocean. They're never up at the surface and they have a bioluminescent lure, a little lure over the top of their head that glows in the dark. That lure's job is to bring prey into these angler fish that want to eat the small fish that come by. The light that's coming from that lure are very dense populations of bacteria that are glowing in the dark.
So both of the organisms are getting positive effects out of this. The bacteria are getting food and oxygen being produced are being brought in by the fish, so that they are growing very fast and can produce the light. The fish are getting the benefit of that light is attracting prey for them to eat.

We'll hear more about bioluminescence in future programs. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Check out my new podcast with astronomer Bob Berman at Astounding Universe.com