Bioluminescence and Vision on the Deep Seafloor 2015

Background Information

The essays below will help you to understand the goals and objectives of the mission and provide additional context and information about the places being explored and the science, tools, and technologies being used.

  • Mission Plan

    By Tamara Frank

    Mission Plan

    Scientists will use their combined expertise in bioluminescence, taxonomy, visual ecology, imaging and molecular biology, together with the remotely operated vehicle, the Global Explorer, to continue studies of the deep-sea benthic environment in the Gulf of Mexico.

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  • Bioluminescence

    By Sönke Johnsen


    In addition to being beautiful, bioluminescence is common and almost certainly important in the open ocean.

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  • Vision in the Deep

    By Tamara Frank


    Most deep-sea animals do not have color vision. They have a single, blue-sensitive, visual pigment because 1) as you go deeper through water in the ocean, all the colors disappear except for blue and 2) most bioluminescence is blue.

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  • ROV Global Explorer

    By Tamara Frank


    It’s critically important for the research on this expedition that we collect live animals in excellent condition, and Deep Sea Systems Global Explorer remotely operated vehicle will allow us to do so.

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  • Medusa Lander

    By Eddie Widder

    Medusa Lander

    The Medusa lander is an upgrade of the Eye-in-the-Sea system that gave us phenomenal footage of deep-sea animals in their natural environments on previous expeditions.

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  • Deep-sea Gulf of Mexico Habitats

    By Charles Messing

    White living colonies of Lophelia pertusa on a build-up of dead branches, accompanied by feather stars (crinoids), red squat lobsters, a sea urchin, and fish

    The Gulf of Mexico supports an extraordinary range of deep-sea habitats associated with a similarly broad diversity of seafloor features.

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