Edith Widder TED Talk explains the role of luminesence in attracting the giant squid

By on Apr 18, 2013

History was made when around three months ago, the first footage of a giant squid was caught. Not only was video produced, the giant squid was captured in some seriously high definition resulting in absolutely stunning footage.

Part of the Giant Squid team was Edith Widder, one of the experts in marine bioluminescence; an expertise which turned out to have been central in attracting the giant squid. In this very interesting TED talk, Edith Widder explains the concept behind using an artificial E-jelly to attract the giant squid, which was remarkably simple and complex at the same time.

The researchers used a blue LED setup to mimic a defense mechanism of the Atolla jellyfish (a common deepsea jelly) called the burglar alarm. Basically, the jelly fish uses the alarm to signal larger predators in the hope that it’s attacker get’s eaten before they do.

Thus although the jellyfish are not prey a prey item of the giant squid, the blue light signals that there is another predator in the area which the giant squid is very interested in. It is really quite clever. The TED talk can be found right here, so be sure to check it out.

 

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