Soft Robotic Applications Using Dinoflagellate Bioluminescence

A collaboration with Prof. Shengqiang Cai in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at UCSD has led to the development of soft devices containing bioluminescent dinoflagellates that glow in the dark when experiencing mechanical stress, such as being squished, stretched, twisted or bent. The devices do not require any electronics to light up, making them an ideal choice for building … Read More

‘Lightschool’ at California Academy of Sciences

As part of the Nightschool video series at the California Academy of Sciences, their Lightschool program featured in part artist Iyvone Khoo, co-creator of the bioluminescence art installation Infinity Cube. In a multimedia presentation, Iyvone discusses her artistic journey working with bioluminescence. For more information about the science of Infinity Cube, download this article by Dr. Latz.

The Terrifying (but Awesome) Science Behind Red Tides [and Bioluminescence]

In this 2020 production by the American Chemical Society, PBS, and YouTube, learn about red tides and bioluminescence. Complex concepts about light, photosynthesis, toxins, and bioluminescence are explained in a simple manner. “Maybe you already knew that deadly algal tides discolor ocean waves, deplete the water of oxygen, and release toxins that can kill a huge range of ocean critters, … Read More

It’s a Bioluminescent Red Tide!

Blue-white waves at night near Scripps Pier.

April 29, 2020: We are experiencing a red tide, a massive bloom of the dinoflagellate Lingulodinium polyedra, which is a common member of the local plankton community. Sometimes it gets so abundant that it discolors the water reddish/brown, hence the name red tide. And this is big one, stretching from Baja California to Los Angeles. It was first detected at a … Read More

Article about Infinity Cube, a Bioluminescence Art Exhibit

In this article, published in the November 2019 issue of Limnology and Oceanography Bulletin, Dr. Latz recounts the making of Infinity Cube, a bioluminescence art exhibit that was displayed at the Birch Aquarium of Scripps Institution of Oceanography during 2017-2018. In collaboration with London-based artist Iyvone Khoo, Infinity Cube consisted of a dark ‘sensorial space’ of video projection and sound within a … Read More

Why is the Iconic Bioluminescent Dinoflagellate Noctiluca not Bioluminescent along the West Coast of the USA?

The dinoflagellate Noctiluca scintillans was described as ‘animalcules’ in the 1750’s using early microscopes and is now known as a major source of bioluminescence in the world’s oceans. But reports going back to the 1960’s describe non-bioluminescent Noctiluca along the west coast  of the USA. In this study, published in the November 2019 issue of Limnology and Oceanography, an international … Read More

Article on Puerto Rico Bioluminescent Bays

The article “Bioluminescent Bays Shine Light on Puerto Rico’s Resilience” published on Nova Next, the digital publication of NOVA, the PBS science documentary series, features the bioluminescent bays of Puerto Rico, and discusses the impact of Hurricane Maria, which slammed into Puerto Rico in September 2017 as a Category 4 hurricane.

Article on the Art and Science of Bioluminescence

An article published in the online Signal to Noise Magazine titled “Putting the Spotlight on Artists Who Glow” focuses on the art and science of bioluminescence. One of the features is the installation Infinity Cube, a collaboration between artist Iyvone Khoo and marine biologist Dr. Michael Latz, that was on display at the Birch Aquarium at Scripps during 2017-2018.

Remembering Physicist and Educator Dr. Jim Rohr

Jim Rohr had a 30 year career with the Department of Defense at Spawar Systems Center (SSC) Pacific in San Diego, first as a research physicist studying fluid mechanics, underwater acoustics, and marine biology. He obtained a Ph.D. in Engineering Physics at the University of California San Diego (UCSD). He served for several years as a research associate at Scripps … Read More

U.S. Postal Stamps on Bioluminescent Life

The U.S. Postal Service has issued stamps related to bioluminescence. From their web site: Bioluminescence – the ability of some living things to generate their own light – occurs on many branches of the tree of life. With this sheet of 20 stamps, the U.S. Postal Service showcases 10 examples of Bioluminescent Life. The stamps feature: deep-ocean octopus, midwater jellyfish, … Read More