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Science! Also New York Times.

How do you check sediments for pollution levels? Apparently one way is to add water and bioluminescent bacteria and see how fast and how much the glow fades. Though there's a lot more to this article than that, and you'll want to watch the video which has some really gorgeous photographs of bioluminescence down in the ocean - especially the jellyfish with the built in light show. Tells a bit about Orca, and the Eye in the Sea program and stuff like that there. Go look!

Illuminating the Perils of Pollution, Nature’s Way
By ERIK OLSEN
Published: December 19, 2011


FORT PIERCE, Fla. — Edith Widder presented a handful of greenish muck that had been pulled from the shallows of the Indian River Lagoon and cupped it in her palm.
“See that?” she asked. “That’s a lot of decayed organic matter. It’s just a great holding area for pollutants.”

Collecting mud is a new calling for Dr. Widder, a marine biologist who is known around the world for her work in much larger bodies of water.

Over a career spanning almost 30 years, Dr. Widder has made hundreds of dives in deep-sea submersibles to study the remarkable number and diversity of animals that make light. This ability, called bioluminescence, is strikingly common, shared by as many as 90 percent of the creatures in the open ocean.
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