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See like the humpback

with a whale oil lamp...
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While whale watching off the coast of Massachusetts on an overcast day, I noticed that the unusually large flippers of humpbacks were glowing, apparently coated with phosphorescent algae. It occurred to me that this algae was a symbiont: the humpbacks exude a nutritious oil to attract and nourish the algae, and in return the algae provide the humpbacks with a light source for seeing in the black depths where they often feed.

Duplicating this nutritious flipper oil, I’ve added it with the algae to a globe filled with salt-water. The oil coats the inside of the globe, which now glows brightly all night long with an eerie light.

Now, with several of these globes of whale light in my bedroom, I often dream of great schools of tasty squid.
pluterday, May 08 2003

Biospheres http://www.watersav...ver_ecos_ball.shtml
Sea water globes for your algae. [DrCurry, Oct 06 2004]

Humpback with glowing flipper http://www.natureis...djpegs/humpback.jpg
[ldischler, Oct 06 2004]

HOW DO SPERM WHALES CATCH SQUIDS? http://apt.allenpre...&issue=01&page=0042
"The second hypothesis postulates that sperm whales create a zone of stimulated bioluminescence around the mouth, which attracts squids and other visual predators." [ldischler, Oct 30 2006]

[link]






       I really like this, so long as no whales are harmed duplicating the oil... croissant.
saker, May 08 2003
  

       Mostly krill feeders, true, but sometimes small squid as well. Mmmmmm.
pluterday, May 08 2003
  

       I'm missing something. Glow-in-the-dark globes, stars, pebbles, posters, dolphins, magic markers, even goldfish (see link), are Widely Baked. So are globes filled with algae. How does this add to the oeuvre?
DrCurry, May 08 2003
  

       Falls under the category of "it's the journey, not the destination", Doc.
krelnik, May 08 2003
  

       Curry: please! Can't you see that Plutes is a latter day Tom Sawyer? It is not the end result that matters, but the artistry via which one accomplishes this end.
bungston, May 08 2003
  

       It was interesting for me to come across this on my alga research. On Sunday, the 9th (one day after these posts) I was on a photo-shoot in San Pedro, California. It was done on a tide pool, mainly because of the way that the waves were splashing the rocks, and I thought it might look great in the photos. I walked into the water fully clothed. Everything seemed to fine for about 10 minutes until my entire body began itching so badly that we had to go to get medical attention. My hands, feet and face were swelling as well. I knew it was an allergy, but had no idea as to what. That night, at home, (and coincidentally in the dark) I pulled my wet clothing out of the bag that I had placed them into, and found that - to my amazement - my still wet shirt and jeans were phosphorescent. Then today, on another coincidence I spoke to someone who told me about a phosphorescent algae he’d seen. In my quick research I found out that this algae is Pyrophyta, which is also responsible for red tides...
atisatyam, May 12 2004
  

       Has anyone got anymore information on how pluterday did this as i am doing a design project and i need to prove that a bioluminescent lamp can be made, and this seems to be the perfect example.
widget1984, Oct 26 2006
  

       I doubt (for numerous reasons) that [pluterday] *actually* did this. Milking a whale of it's nutritious tail-oils might pose some initial difficulties, as would 'duplicating' said oils and mixing them up with the appropriate algae. Quite how bioluminescence assists in echo-location is beyond me, but that's by the by.   

       In short, a pleasant folly, one that might make a good story one day...
zen_tom, Oct 26 2006
  

       it doesnt really matter if pluterday actually did this or not all i'm asking is would it work in theory? Idon't have to make the lamp i just have to prove it will work if i did. So any detail available on this subject of bioluminescent lighting would be great.
widget1984, Oct 27 2006
  

       Seeing as how we're casting doubts on Pluter's statements, I should add that I have my own doubts that the whales deliberately exude an oil to sustain the algae.   

       Seeing as you can see the algae bioluminescing in waves, bow waves from boats, (I've seen a fishing lure that I was retrieving give off bioluminescence), ie the algae are present in the water, and excited by turbulence, I can't really see that an oily whale could attract and/or retain the algae. And lastly, are we suggesting that a carniverous whale (one of the squid eaters) really carts a few flipper-loads of faintly glowing algae down into the depths with him, just to spot squid?
Custardguts, Oct 30 2006
  

       I'm afraid your science is off in this regard. The glowing sea-creatures are throughout the waters, and do not feed on whale fin oil. Rather, they use sunlight, or feed on algae, and glow when they sense motion.   

       The whales don't keep these creatures on them into the watery depths either. Rather, the whales use sonar, and the glowing sea creatures stay near the surface where the light and algae are.
ye_river_xiv, Nov 17 2008
  
      
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