So for this week’s Nature Sunday, I am going to talk about something a little bit different, something called Bioluminescence.
The world is a mysterious place, and one of the most interesting things in the universe is Light.
Organisms are mostly drawn to light. The light source we are most familiar with are stars, or rather, our star- the sun. Other than that, there are also fire and electricity etc. But do you know that there are also organisms that makes their own light? that light is called Bioluminescence.
There are many reasons for organisms to glow- to attract mates, preys, to escape from predators, to help them to locate food, and some more even us human don’t understand.
Here are some of the examples of Bioluminescence.
Fireflies are the most well known insect that’s bioluminescent.They have an enzyme called luciferase that acts on the luciferin. And when in the presence of magnesium ions, ATP, and oxygen, they produce light. Firefly uses its light to warn predators that it is distasteful /toxic.
There are other insects that glows, such as Glow worms, Motyxia (millipede) and Quantula striata (snail)
In the forest, some fungi can also glow, much similar to fireflies, using the enzyme luciferase.
Jack-O-lantern Mushroom, Bitter Oyster, Mycena
Ancient folktales often relate those mushroom lights as ghosts and monster.
in the water, sometimes when microorganisms over grow, it makes the whole water surface glow.
Blue ocean glow caused by myriad tiny organisms, such as Noctiluca.
And finally underneath the sea, where sunlight is too far to react, deep sea creatures developed their own light in order to see, hunt and mate.
The following is a super cool video by BBC explaining pretty much all the basics we know about deep sea Bioluminescence.
Today’s Nature Sunday features the Olm (Proteus anguinus). Olm lives in the subterranean waters of caves of the Dinaric karst of southern Europe. It is an amphibic salamander. Olm is also a true troglobiont, which means it is a cave-dwelling animal that has adapted to the dark surroundings. It lives its whole life completely underwater, and it cannot live in any other environment.
Because of the dark surrounding, Olms have undeveloped eyes as well as lack of skin pigmentation. But on the other hand, they developed a powerful sensory system of smell, taste, hearing and electrosensitivity.
They are called the Human Fish by locals, because they share some resemblance with human beings (ie. face, arms, legs, pinkish skin) But to me, it looks more like the Chinese Dragon =/
Fun Fact!!: Olms are able to go without food for up to six to ten years! And they can live up to an age of 50 or more. A study published in Biology Letters estimated that they have a maximum lifespan of over 100 years and that the lifespan of an average adult is around 68.5 years, which makes them outliers- living longer than would be predicted from their size. One hypothetical reason is the low temperature of the cave water, which lowers the whole metabolism of the animal.
Last night, I went to OCAD to check out the works from the furniture class 2010-2011.
Featured pieces deal with the potential of furniture as a psychological and ergonomic prosthetic as well as challenge perceived levels of comfort within furniture. These works also aim to explore the expression of personal histories and desires and the potential for furniture to be a social, political and cultural catalyst.
More interesting mushroom this week. It’s the octopus on land.
Octopus Stinkhorn (Clathrus columnatus) is indigenous to Australia and Tasmania and an introduced species in Europe and North America. The young fungus erupts from a suberumpent egg by forming into four to seven elongated slender arms initially erect and attached at the top. The arms then unfold to reveal a pinkish-red interiour covered with a dark-olive spore-containing gleba.
When Octopus Stinkhorn matures, it gives out a foul odor that’s similar to putrid flesh. By doing so, it attracts flies. Similar to the relationship between bees and flowers, the fungus is spread by having its spore-containing gleba picked up by the flies.
?Fun Fact?: The Octopus Stinkhorn is edible when it is still in its egg stage, It is said to have a similar taste to a radish. Any other time, its taste is extremely foul. (saw this online but I don’t know if it’s true =/ )
Chorioactis is a type of fungus also know as the Texas Star and the Devil’s Cigar. The mushroom is shaped similar to a dark brown cigar capsule, but it will open up and transforms into a tan-colored star to release its spores.
Chorioactis is extremely rare. In fact, it is only known to exist at less than 5 locations in the world. The fungus was first collected in Austin, Texas in 1893 by botanist Lucien Marcus Underwooda and later found in Kyushu, Japan in 1937.