Some microscopic algae use energy in producing bioluminescence. In this video we explain the adaptative advantages of such energetic release for this group of microorganisms.
The algae (Noctiluca scintillans) are predated by the copepods, other members of the zooplankton which have transparent bodies. When copepods feed on noctilucas they turn sparkling and become striking to their own predators, which then distinguish copepods more easily. Thus the noctilucas have turned their predators in alarms to call for help.
This video, presented in 720p HD, was created for free use as teaching material. As far as possible, Divulgare group will continue adding more similar videos.
The current version of the voice-over explanation can mislead to the interpretation that "group-selection" (some individuals sacrifice themselves for the good of the population) is the only selective force in action. Actually the feeding-on, but also the disturbance-of the algae by the animals may trigger the luminescence, therefore attracting the higher-order predators. We are currently working in a modified version of the voice-over to avoid this possible misinterpretation.
This video may be useful as a supporting material, but it cannot replace the valuable guidance of a teacher, needed to properly contextualize its content.