Sunday, March 29, 2009

Fish schools 25 miles long

How big can a school of fish be? Would you believe 25 miles long? A new study provides scientific evidence for massive schools of fish up to 25 miles long.

I remeber seeing schools of fish that seemed to be 25 miles long while steaming on a research vessel in the open ocean. I saw these massive schools at night when fish looked like fireworks, thanks to bioluminescence. The light flash was triggered by moving fish scared by the ship, and the spots of light went on forever and beyond. Steaming through schools visible as points of light seemed to go on for hour after hour, and I wondered how big could a single school be?

The other time I saw miraculous bioluminescence was from the R/V Melville which had an observation dome underwater at the ship's bow. When underway in seas with bioluminescent microbes, the impact of the clear panels in the observation dome made the microbes light up, creating an effect very similar to the star wars visuals when space ships went into hyperdrive.

image at right: blogfish and Chewbacca in the Melville observation dome underwater

2 comments:

Dr Dan said...

Great blog by the way!!! I also love bioluminescence I remember playing in it at a marine lab I worked at during my PhD.

ontheedgeofsprawl said...

The hypnotic effect of bioluminescence as water broke off off bow, cruising at twenty-five knotts on an otherwise glassy ocean used to keep me at the rails for the better part of an hour when I should have been sleeping after a mid-watch.