The Secret Fluorescent Beauty of Reef Life
We're not talking just about corals, which every reefkeeper already knows about. Fish, cephalopods, crustaceans, tunicates, sponges, cowries, nudibranchs, flatworms, algae, and all forms of sea life emit other-worldly biofluorescence.
With the aid of special photography equipment (blue light + barrier filters), we can view these animals like never before. All the neon colors you see in this night dive video by Jeff Honda are 100% real. The ocean is truly an amazing, alien world!
What is fluorescence?
Adam Blundell, M.S. writes about 'The Seen and Unseen World of Coral Fluorescence' in Advanced Aquarist's June, 2005 issue:
Fluorescence is a process whereby a matter of energy is absorbed by a substance, and then released by that substance with less energy. In this case a light source of high energy (lets say blue light) is absorbed by a substance (a coral) and then released with less energy (i.e. green light or red light).
Dana Riddle writes what may be the most comprehensive series of articles on coral coloration & fluorescence: