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What’s that glowing?

May 24, 2013

Originally posted on Deepwater Canyons:

Corallimorpharia

Fluorescing corallimorphs attached to a piece of metal debris from the shipwreck. These individuals were approximately 0.5 cm in diameter. Image courtesy of Art Howard, Deepwater Canyons 2013 Expedition, NOAA-OER/BOEM/USGS.

During each dive we collect biological specimens that inhabit the wreck. The specimens will be used for various studies ranging from species distribution patterns and isotopic analysis to coral genetics and larval analysis. This is an example of a cool organism collected from the dive last night. These corallimorphs were attached to a piece of the wreckage. Corallimorphs are closely related to sea anemones and do not produce a hard skeleton. In natural light they appear white, but when held under a black light they exhibit green fluorescence. The fluorescence occurs around their mouth, possibly to help attract external food sources. This sample was collected from the wreck using the suction tube sampling attachment on Jason, also known as the…

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