Why are Noctiluca flourescent?
protsvil at EXTRO.UCC.SU.OZ.AU
Fri Sep 23 21:59:17 EST 1994
On 23 Sep 1994 Kjell.Magne.Fagerbakke at net.bio.net wrote:
> I am not asking for florezing bacteria creating light by ATP
> driven things. I wounder why they lights up when the
> water is shaken.
> All ecological/ evolutional explainations will also be
> Kjell Magne Fagerbakke
We at protsville, sydney were talking about this about a month
ago. The "cutest" hypothesis was that the Phosphescence was a device for
scaring predators. Noctiluca is kind of big for a prot and some of its
potential predators are things with eyes (fish larvae etc.).
Furthermore, water disturbance would be a plausible way for a prot to
detect a nearby predator. Sudden Colourful displays in bigger organisms
are often explained by the David Attenboroughs of this world as "predator
dazzlers" (eg, the flash pads on the back legs of some frogs).
This seems to me to be a reasonable explanation but of course is utterly
untested. I rather doubt that very much experimental work has been done
on the effectivness of "predator dazzling devices" at all. Still it
makes a good bedtime story for the kiddies.
More information about the Protista