bioluminescence


bio·lu·mi·nes·cence

noun \ˌbī-ō-ˌlü-mə-ˈne-sən(t)s\

Definition of BIOLUMINESCENCE

:  the emission of light from living organisms; also :  the light so produced
bio·lu·mi·nes·cent \-sənt\ adjective

Origin of BIOLUMINESCENCE

International Scientific Vocabulary
First Known Use: 1916

bio·lu·mi·nes·cence

noun \ˌbī-ō-ˌlü-mə-ˈnes-ən(t)s\   (Medical Dictionary)

Medical Definition of BIOLUMINESCENCE

: the emission of light from living organisms; also : the light so produced
bio·lu·mi·nes·cent \-ənt\ adjective

bioluminescence

noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Emission of light by an organism or biochemical system (e.g., the glow of bacteria on decaying meat or fish, the phosphorescence of protozoans in tropical seas, the flickering signals of fireflies). It occurs in a wide range of protists and animals, including bacteria and fungi, insects, marine invertebrates, and fish. It is not known to exist naturally in true plants or in amphibians, reptiles, birds, or mammals. It results from a chemical reaction that produces radiant energy very efficiently, giving off very little heat. The essential light-emitting components are usually the organic molecule luciferin and the enzyme luciferase, which are specific for different organisms. In higher organisms, light production is used to frighten predators and to help members of a species recognize each other. Its functional role in lower organisms such as bacteria, dinoflagellates, and fungi is uncertain. Luminous species are widely scattered taxonomically, with no clear-cut pattern, though most are marine.

Browse

Next Word in the Dictionary: biolytic tank
Previous Word in the Dictionary: biology
All Words Near: bioluminescence

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up bioluminescence? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Get Our Free Apps
Voice Search, Favorites,
Word of the Day, and More
Join Us on FB & Twitter
Get the Word of the Day and More