The Colour of Sound II: Pyrocystis fusiformis, Bowers and Wilkins P5 Headphones and iPad

Pyrocystis fusiformis is a large marine bioluminescent algae. During the night, its cells produce a stiking blue light when disturbed as a defence mechanism to startle predators. Here I’ve “disturbed” them by playing them music through headphones, Dominion/Mother Russia by The Sisters of Mercy to be precise. I’m thrilled to report that they “hear” the music and respond to it by producing light. The videos are best viewed in a dark room. Because I’ve used headphones here, only the Pyrocystis can “hear” the music, and the background noise is that of the fans in the controlled temperature room where the algae are currently living. Tempted to call this process SonoBioluminescence. Maybe be a trip to some natural Pyrocystis marine habitat next to play them, and the sea, music in their natural setting.

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