Observations of in situ deep-sea marine bioluminescence with a high-speed, high-resolution sCMOS camera

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Date of Original Version



Observing and measuring marine bioluminescence in situ presents unique challenges, characterized by the difficult task of approaching and imaging weakly illuminated bodies in a three-dimensional environment. To address this problem, a scientific complementary-metal-oxide-semiconductor (sCMOS) microscopy camera was outfitted for deep-sea imaging of marine bioluminescence. This system was deployed on multiple platforms (manned submersible, remotely operated vehicle, and towed body) in three oceanic regions (Western Tropical Pacific, Eastern Equatorial Pacific, and Northwestern Atlantic) to depths up to 2500 m. Using light stimulation, bioluminescent responses were recorded at high frame rates and in high resolution, offering unprecedented low-light imagery of deep-sea bioluminescence in situ. The kinematics of light production in several zooplankton groups was observed, and luminescent responses at different depths were quantified as intensity vs. time. These initial results signify a clear advancement in the bioluminescent imaging methods available for observation and experimentation in the deep-sea.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Deep-Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers