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      Quantification of bioluminescence from the surface to the deep sea demonstrates its predominance as an ecological trait

      a , 1 , b , 1

      Scientific Reports

      Nature Publishing Group

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          Abstract

          The capability of animals to emit light, called bioluminescence, is considered to be a major factor in ecological interactions. Because it occurs across diverse taxa, measurements of bioluminescence can be powerful to detect and quantify organisms in the ocean. In this study, 17 years of video observations were recorded by remotely operated vehicles during surveys off the California Coast, from the surface down to 3,900 m depth. More than 350,000 observations are classified for their bioluminescence capability based on literature descriptions. The organisms represented 553 phylogenetic concepts (species, genera or families, at the most precise taxonomic level defined from the images), distributed within 13 broader taxonomic categories. The importance of bioluminescent marine taxa is highlighted in the water column, as we showed that 76% of the observed individuals have bioluminescence capability. More than 97% of Cnidarians were bioluminescent, and 9 of the 13 taxonomic categories were found to be bioluminescent dominant. The percentage of bioluminescent animals is remarkably uniform over depth. Moreover, the proportion of bioluminescent and non-bioluminescent animals within taxonomic groups changes with depth for Ctenophora, Scyphozoa, Chaetognatha, and Crustacea. Given these results, bioluminescence has to be considered an important ecological trait from the surface to the deep-sea.

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          Most cited references 46

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          Deep pelagic biology

           Bruce Robison (2004)
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            Forcing and biological impact of onset of the 1992 El Niño in central California

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              Systematic distribution of bioluminescence in living organisms.

               I P Herring (1987)
              A list of the genera of living organisms known or believed to contain luminous species is provided in the Appendix, in a systematic context. The constraints on the accuracy of such a list and some aspects of the apparent distribution of bioluminescence are discussed.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Sci Rep
                Sci Rep
                Scientific Reports
                Nature Publishing Group
                2045-2322
                04 April 2017
                2017
                : 7
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) , 7700 Sandholdt Road, Moss Landing, 95039, CA, USA
                srep45750
                10.1038/srep45750
                5379559
                28374789
                Copyright © 2017, The Author(s)

                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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