A few nights ago we saw thousands of bio-luminescent creatures in the water – we think they were jellyfish, but are not sure. They were about 2-3 feet long and tube-shaped, and glowed green. It was an incredible sight. The stern (back of the ship) was where the big show was – thousands of them in a swirling, glowing, greenish trail behind us.
I tried to video it but it came out completely black. If we see them again I will try a long exposure with my regular camera.
(2/13/10 Captain Dave says that the glowing creatures were ctenophores. They are also known as comb jellies. You can find some information about them at http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/cnidaria/ctenophora.html and
Oddly enough, one of the winners of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry studied bioluminescent jellyfish (Osamu Shimomura). He studied the jellyfish in the 1960’s, and 30 years later other researchers figured out how to use the green fluorescent protein that he had isolated to study cell biology. These techniques are now used to see how nerve cells in the brain are woven together and to find arsenic in water, for example.