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    Re: Polynesian navigation
    From: John Huth
    Date: 2009 Jun 7, 08:41 -0400
    That's what I was thinking when I first read about te lapa - that some organism receives the light, then it triggers an emission.   I believe this has been observed in some species of fire-flies.   Perhaps it is some kind of microrganism in the water.   Jellyfish in the Gulf of Alaska have very fast bioluminescent molecules - the chemicals have been adapted for use in mice (rainbow mice) for fast time-resolved studies of the brains.

    On Sat, Jun 6, 2009 at 11:31 PM, Ken Muldrew <kmuldrew{at}ucalgary.ca> wrote:

    From:                   <frankreed{at}HistoricalAtlas.com>

    > The description in Lewis sounds an awful lot like big squid. Some
    > species of squid have bright, active bioluminescent organs which they
    > can use to make impressive pulsing bands of light which would look
    > like "underwater lightning" on a dark night.

    They would have to be awfully close to the surface for anyone to see it
    above water. Do squid ever hang around the surface?

    To me it sounds more like chemiluminescent bacteria or protozoans who are
    actually triggering luminscence in their neighbors in some kind of chain
    reaction (I have no idea why they might do this, but they still might). At the
    moment we know of organisms that give off light, and organisms that have
    light receptors that influence biochemical changes (in bacteria, even, these
    are far more general than vision systems), but nobody has yet found an
    organism that transmits signals between cells by light. There are a few
    people looking, but nothing convincing so far.

    Ken Muldrew.




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