14.3 C
Byron Shire
July 1, 2022

Deep beneath Byron the Bay shows its colours

Latest News

Supply chain pain? Try localisation!

A community screening of Local Futures’ new film, 'Planet Local: A Quiet Revolution', will be held today, Friday, July 1, at The Farm in Byron Bay from 6pm. Damon Gameau and Pacha Light will be joining Helena Norberg-Hodge for a discussion afterwards.

Other News

First Nations place-names under Ballina council spotlight

Greater efforts at reconciliation with First Nations people in the Ballina Shire when it comes to place-names is to happen after furious agreement at June’s council meeting.

Lismore City Council votes against land-swaps and buybacks

The Lismore City Council has voted against asking the federal government and NSW Northern Rivers Reconstruction Commission [NRRC] for prioritised land buybacks and swaps after devastating floods earlier this year.

Mullum could lose valuable CBD car park

It’s fair to say residents of Mullumbimby have seen a steady increase in the number of vehicles visiting the...

Perplexed

Perplexed to read Richard Jones’ article ‘Now’s the time for those reforms’, when the opening sentence quotes: ‘Just over...

Police seeking public assistance following Byron Bay assault

A serious assault in Byron Bay on Friday, 3 June, 2022 has led to police releasing further CCTV footage and another appeal for information from the public. 

Very wet and very dry: unprecedented droughts and hyper-damaging floods in the future

The world will be pushed to more weather extremes in coming decades, according to two studies which carry stark warnings of floods and droughts, respectively.


Mary Gardner

How do you pick a path through the foam and waves of the sea and enter its depths? Here in Byron Bay, you can swim beyond the surf and snorkel the hidden wreck of Tassie III, old jetty posts and rocky reefs such as Middle Reef.

Further and deeper, at Julian Rocks you can dive down into the likes of the Cod Hole and Hugo’s Trench. Beyond is a shelf that extends for kilometres. The sunlight shines right through the water to its physical limit, which is the same as the depth to the seabed (about 200 m). Further on, all is midnight black, the seabed plunging into canyons and caldera. This cold, dark, high-pressure zone is 90 per cent of the global ocean. Here, submersibles and remote cameras are now retrieving images of life never before seen. Telling the tales of such exploration will be Justin Marshall, deep-ocean researcher at University of Queensland. He’s a guest at this year’s final event of the Byron Bay 2nd Annual Science Film and Talk Fest on November 16.

Marshall is also fascinated with the sensory systems used by fish and other marine creatures. Recently he won several awards for underwater devices that he designed which ‘see’ the underwater world the way marine life does – with receptors for up to a dozen different colours plus ultraviolet light. All these are outside of the range of humans, whose vision is based on only three colours (red, blue and green).

To see some of this for yourself, you can use a ‘blue light’ dive light such as the one produced by Charlie Mazel’s research company Nightsea. Shine the weak light at underwater rocks and many types of marine life blaze with fluorescent colours. Many different corals show up, as well as their young, which are less than a single millimetre in diameter. The blue light reveals these magic sights by day as well as night. A small torch-sized blue-light device is useful for looking inside small aquariums and through microscopes.

What makes that glow? Some marine creatures incorporate glowing bacteria into their own cells. Many others produce it for themselves from inside their cells. An enzyme interacts with one of four types of light-emitting substrates. This is chemical bioluminescence and is dependent on the moods and activities of the organisms themselves. There is still another process by which a fluorescent protein lights up when excited by different wavelengths of light. These are greens and reds that show up under blue lights or ultraviolet lamps.

What do all the glowing colours mean? Photobiology is a young science and there are many hints. Colours protect corals from certain rays of sunlight. Colours attract prey or mask predators. Colours reveal moods or camouflage bodies. The many-splendoured senses of organisms which understand so much more are being coaxed for other details by neurobiologists such as Marshall.

Another neurobiologist, the late Francisco Varela, also advocated that we humans use ‘first-person science’ and ask ourselves. For example, he would point to how we use colour and landmarks to get ourselves from place to place. This is what we, embodied minds, do as we include our environment to help us think. To further illustrate this, he translated a poem by Anotonio Machado which says in part we ‘lay down a path in walking’. This could also be true as we swim deep over our heads, primates watching the internal colours of the global sea.

Join Professor Marshall (http://web.qbi.uq.edu.au/ecovis/justin.htm), Libby Hepburn (www.alcw.org.au) and Karl Goodsell (www.positivechangeformarinelife.org) at the final session of Byron Bay 2nd Annual Science Film & Talk Fest on November 16 at 6pm, SCU room, Byron Bay Community Centre. Admission is free and includes ‘duckumentary’ Duck! Live video link at the festival is managed by Lightforce Training Academy.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Dry July to help you and Our House

In July 2008, three mates, Brett, Kenny and Phil, wanted to take a break from alcohol, so decided to abstain for the month of July, coining it their 'Dry July'.

Very wet and very dry: unprecedented droughts and hyper-damaging floods in the future

The world will be pushed to more weather extremes in coming decades, according to two studies which carry stark warnings of floods and droughts, respectively.

Australian-first Surf Series and workshops ends in Lennox Head on Sunday

It might be cold outside but that's not stopping women who love to surf and over 100 women and girls will participate in the first female event series in Australia on Sunday at Lennox Head.

It’s plastic free July!

Did you know that plastic packaging and single-use plastic items make up 60 per cent of all litter in NSW?