Bioluminescence Diversity


Researcher: Jérôme Mallefet (principal investigator)
External collaborators:
- Prof. Maria Byrne (Sydney Univ., Australia)
- Dr. Tim O’Hara (Melbourne Museum, Australia)
- Dr. Keiichi Sato (Okinawa Churashima Research Center, Japan)
- Prof. Hsuan-Ching Ho (National Dong Hwa Univ., Taiwan)
- Dr. Christophe Guinet (Centre d’études Biologique de Chizé, France)


Bioluminescence is defined as the emission of visible light by living organisms. This phenomenon is both rare in terms of the number of species but extremely widespread in terms of phyletic distribution in the marine world: there are luminous species in 13 invertebrate phyla, whereas the only naturally luminous vertebrates are fish. The diversity of expression of the phenomenon is enormous and our research initially focused on the luminescence of fish and echinoderms. The comparative study of the phenomenon is carried out thanks to the extension of our research to species of cnidarians, crustaceans, luminous polychaetes and other taxa.


This vast program of basic research on how, when and why such organisms produce light is developed in our laboratory in collaboration with national and international laboratories.