The 2018 Fall Life of the Mind Salon Series begins on Wednesday, October 3 when Dana Yoerger, senior scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, explores the realm known as the ocean's “twilight zone.” At 200 to 1000 meters below the surface, sunlight is barely a glimmer, yet flashes of bioluminescence give us a clue that these waters teem with life. Microbes, plankton, jellies, and fish—everything living in the twilight zone has amazing adaptations for life such an extreme environment. Many animals can produce their own light—called bioluminescence—that they use to camouflage themselves, to scare off predators, or even to attract prey. Most life forms in the twilight zone are tiny—a few inches or less—but some, such as gelatinous siphonophores, can form chains that extend as much as 130 feet, making them among the biggest animals on Earth. But even the smallest twilight zone inhabitants can be powerful through sheer number. A tiny but fierce-looking fish called a bristlemouth is the most abundant vertebrate on Earth. And the combined biomass of all twilight zone fish may be more than in the rest of the ocean combined.
Dana Yoerger is a senior scientist in Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s department of Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering.
Free for members; $10 for Non-members. Reception at 5:30 pm, followed by the lecture at 6:00 pm. Register online or call 401-847-0292 for reservations.