Speaking with Light
Tackling pollution with bacterial bioindicators
About this video
Shining a light on pollution
Many marine organisms have evolved to exhibit bioluminescence – putting on incredible deep sea displays of flashing lights, sparkling blooms and smoke-like clouds of shimmering blue.
Inspired by this magnificent spectacle, marine biologist Dr Edith Widder has developed a way to use bioluminescent bacteria to help protect our aquatic environments.
Some of the most insidious forms of modern-day pollution are not visible to the naked eye, especially those which contaminate our oceans. By mixing bioluminescent bacteria with sediment samples, Dr Widder uses these tiny organisms as bioindicators of toxins in marine and riverine environments. Using the light these sea creatures produce we are better able to reveal the source and severity of pollution in our waterways.
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