The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Neighborhoods South County

June 8, 2014

Jefferson Elementary gifted students study bioluminescence


For their unit on Hawaii, the 4th and 5th grade Gifted Class at Jefferson Elementary School learned about bioluminescence in fish.  
Students made a project to see how this is beneficial in helping fish to hide in plain sight.  
Some fish also use this trait to communicate with each other. They do this using long and short flashes of light.  
The students devised their own “codes” to send messages to each other using short and long flashes of light with a flashlight. Some of the codes were really creative, said teacher Christine Kovacs.
Fifth grade student Faith Blankenship summarized the experiment:
“In gifted today for our Hawaii unit we did an experiment on bioluminescence. We took our shoeboxes that we brought in and lined them with black paper. We made little holes in one end and a giant eye hole on the other end.  
We made two fish out of paper and poked little holes in one.  One fish at a time was taped to the top. When we looked through the eye hole for the holed fish you could not see that fish.
That is because the little holes represent bioluminescence. 
The fish with the holes blended in to the light on the other side which is when you look up in the ocean.  When you see through the box with the solid fish you see a shape that is black. The solid fish does not blend in to the light.
Bioluminescence is very important for fish because they can protect themselves from predators or they can lure their prey to them. The prey can shoot out the bioluminescence to confuse the predators.  
Some fish, when startled by the predators, set off bioluminescence as an alarm to tell the fish that eat their predator to come save them from getting eaten.  
Scientists think that the No. 1 form of communication on earth is light communication because bioluminescence is so abundant in the ocean.”

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