ScienceDaily (Feb. 26, 2012) — Not all that glitters is gold. Sometimes it is just bacteria trying to get ahead in life. Many sea creatures glow with a biologically produced light. This phenomenon, known as bioluminescence, is observed, among others, in some marine bacteria which emit a steady light once they have reached a certain level of concentration (a phenomenon called “quorum sensing”) on organic particles in ocean waters.
Though this was a known occurrence, the benefits of producing light remained unclear.
Now, in an article published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), researchers of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have unraveled the mystery of why the marine bacteria glow. It has to do with what might be called “the survival of the brightest.”