LIVING LIGHT: Exploring Bioluminescence by Peg Horsburgh

LIVING LIGHT: Exploring Bioluminescence

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An indifferent treatment of bioluminiscence, beginning with some early investigators, scanning some of the life forms that have it (fireflies, dinoflagellates, ""toadstools,"" etc.), and noting some of its uses or potential uses to man. As Horsburgh observes frequently, ""very little is known"" about many aspects of the phenomenon; and, as she lacks the ability to turn this into a challenge, the result here is too many dead ends and limp middies--which makes the fictionalized scenarios that open some chapters seem even more artificial. Horsburgh comes up with a few interesting incidentals (air pollution has changed the way in which the Japanese publicly ""honor"" the firefly; the sea firefly Cypridina, used in research, will glow ""even 25 years after dying""), but her prose--as in discussions of symbiosis and parasitism--is not as rigorous as it could be; and her explanations of the chemicals involved is not as clear as that in Jacobs' equally elementary, but more interesting, Nature's Light (1974).

Pub Date: June 19th, 1978
Publisher: Messner