For the first time in history, deep-sea coral bioluminescence has been recorded in full-color HD video. The hypnotic video was captured in the deep sea off the coast of Oahu Hawaii and is a collaboration with Deep Ocean Exploration and Research (DOER) and Canon USA.
In the short video clip, you see the arm of a submersible vehicle gently touch the base of a bamboo coral. The coral starts emitting a pulsing blue light that continues to travel in synchronized bands away from the contact point,
The bioluminescent behavior of bamboo corals was first described by Oceanographer Sylvia Earle and others decades ago. Until now this behavior has never captured on film and has only been witnessed by fearless deep-sea explorers.
In 1979 Dr. Sylvia Earle made a record-setting dive to 1,250 feet (380m) off the coast of Oahu in Hawaii in the “Jim suit”. This is how she described the bamboo corals: “When I touched them, rings of light pulsed up and down between base and tip.”
To capture this fascinating footage the team at DOER uses a specially designed camera housing and a Canon ME20F-SH camera. DOER first saw the camera at a trade show in 2015 and immediately saw the potential it had for capturing bioluminescence at depth.
In July 2016, Dr. Earle received a grant to return to the same deepwater coral beds she visited in 1979 for comparative observations of deep water biota. An opportunity presented itself to test and prove the value of the ME20F-SH.
DOER is continuing to work with the camera and is experimenting with a variety of lenses, recording devices and camera ports to unlock it’s full potential for subsea science and exploration. We are eager to see what exciting discoveries comes next in deep-sea exploration! [NatGeo]