This video is the trailer for artist Lynette Wallworth’s fulldome planetarium film Coral: Rekindling Venus. It highlights the biodiversity of a coral reef by showing us bioflourescence, or, the way sea creatures see each other.
Biofluorescence is different from bioluminescence. Bioluminescence is when a fish, like the angler fish, creates light by chemical reaction. A bioflourescent fish absorbs light, filters it, and ejects it in a different form. To see the bioflourescent colors, we must use a filter in order to see them as other fish see them. And there are a lot of fish that do this -we just didn’t see them before.
To capture these bioflourescent fish in action, researchers custom-built underwater cameras with yellow filters, which block out blue light. Over time, the expeditions tallied more than 180 species of bioflourescent fish, from both cartilaginous and bony lineages. The nature of the fluorescence was extremely variable, ranging from simple eye rings to complex fluorescent patterns all over the body, and even internally. To the researchers, this suggests that the ability to glow may have evolved in fish a number of times, and could hint at the existence of numerous undiscovered fluorescent proteins.