Researchers Spot Rare Glowing Sea Turtle


Scientists and artists on a joint expedition in the Solomon Islands in July made a discovery that seemed exactly suited for both groups when they found a glowing sea turtle.

The group was diving as part of a Thyysen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary Academy expedition. The organization pairs artists and scientists together for sea and land expeditions. The program’s website declares it is “reimagining the culture of exploration, opening a new chapter in the history of art at sea.”

The school is big on facilitating unique adventures. In describing the discovery of a glowing sea turtle, the divers on the expedition came off like excited kids, and why wouldn’t they?

“This turtle was just hanging out with us, it was in love with the lights, it was hanging out with us and it was glowing neon yellow,” marine biologist Markus Reymann, who along with fellow researcher David Gruber discovered the glow-in-the-dark turtle, according to CBS News.

While the Solomon Islands are relatively near Bikini Atoll, which was the site of nuclear bomb tests in the 1950’s, luckily this turtle had not been affected. The turtle the team found was exhibiting what is known as bioflourescence, which is a relatively rare ability among marine life to absorb light, transform it, and then emit the light as a different color. Several other marine mammals also exhibit this trait.

Scientists generally thought bioflourescence was restricted to certain crustaceans and jellyfish, among others, but now that the research team has found an endangered Hawksbill Turtle that can glow, it has changed the way the scientists think.

Maybe not the artists, but the scientists anyway.

Photo credit: Youtube screenshot