Bioluminescence is one of the chief contributors to the light environment at depth in the sea and plays a key role in biological interactions and animal behaviour.
There is a wide range of spectral compositions, the various wavelengths which combine to produce light of a particular colour, present in bioluminescent signatures from organisms covering the entire visible spectrum. The spectral composition of bioluminescence is closely linked to the visual systems of marine animals and transmission of light in the water, and is affected numerous factors. Identification of bioluminescent species has been demonstrated from flash kinetics, discriminating species by flash duration and magnitude, including in Kongsfjorden in 2013 (Johnsen et al., 2014).
The main goal of this project is to test a method of measuring the spectral composition of emitted bioluminescence flashes and glow from a range of organisms and to begin to compile a "fingerprint" database to allow for the identification of organisms using their flash kinetics and spectral composition. This will involve method development, testing and extensive field work with samples collected from a range of locations including the Arctic. As such, the field work in Svalbard is an essential component to allow investigation of this aspect of the project.