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Bioluminescence, or the ability of an organism to create light, is one of nature’s most amazing phenomena, seemingly drawn more from science fiction than science and natural history. It has been estimated that 90 percent of the animals living in the pelagic zone (water column) are bioluminescent. However, information on bioluminescence in the deep-sea benthos (organisms that live on the ocean bottom) is sparse.

Choose from the sections below to further explore ocean exploration education resources on bioluminescence.


These selected ocean exploration lessons were developed by educators and scientists to demonstrate key bioluminescence concepts. Lessons support the Next Generation Science Standards and the Ocean Literacy Essential Principles and Fundamental Concepts. (Note: The links provided in lessons are verified at the time of publication, but over time, may change or become obsolete.)

These items are only a selection of the educational materials highlighting bioluminescence on our website.

For more lessons and background information explore the Deep Ocean Education Project Website.

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