Marine fishes are the only bioluminescent vertebrates, and this ability to emit light has evolved dozens of times within bony fishes, representing nearly 5% of all teleosts. Bioluminescent fishes are often deep-sea dwellers, but many groups (e.g., ponyfishes, toadfishes) are found in shallow waters. The lab's current emphasis is to combine molecular data from several bioluminescent and bioflourescent clades and the whole ray-finned fish tree of life to broadly examine the evolution of these luminescent systems in a phylogenetic context.

Please explore the laboratory Publications for more of our research.

Examples of popular press:

August 15, 2016 - Elie Dolgin, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States Journal Club, "Animals that glow for courtship have more species" 
April 25, 2016 - Brian Clark Howard, National Geographic, "Through a shark's eyes: See how they glow in the deep"
April 25, 2016 - Elizabeth Preston, The Atlantic, "Scientists have developed shark vision"
April 25, 2016 - Monika Auger, Wall Street Journal, "Scientists develop camera with shark vision"
March 3, 2014 - James A. Foley, Nature World News, "Bioluminescence in deep-sea fishes breeds species diversity"
January 9, 2014 - Betsy Mason, Wired, Science, "Scientists discover 180 species of glowing fish"
January 8, 2014 - James Gorman, New York Times, Science Times Feature, "Fluorescence is widespread in fish, study finds"
January 8, 2014 - Ian Randall, Science Mag, ScienceNOW, "Fish put on a light show"
January 8, 2014 - Steve Almasy, CNN, CNN World, "From blue to green, red or orange: Fish put on new light"


University of Kansas, Biodiversity Institute, 1345 Jayhawk Blvd., Lawrence, KS 66045; 785.864.6874 ©2016 W.L. Smith