The Hawaiian bobtail squid and its resident bacterium, Vibrio fischeri, have a powerful and still somewhat mysterious symbiotic relationship. The luminescent bacteria populate a small pouch on the squid's underside called the light organ, and provide a sort of "Klingon cloaking device." They produce light at night to offset the squid's shadow and hide it from predators when it approaches the ocean's surface to feed. At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, microbiologist Margaret McFall-Ngai studies this unusual relationship. An understanding of these creatures' rhythms could lead to new ways to treat disease. She is also studying how the squid and bacteria communicate, so they don't harm each other.
Credit: National Science Foundation
Images and other media in the National Science Foundation Multimedia Gallery are available for use in print and electronic material by NSF employees, members of the media, university staff, teachers and the general public. All media in the gallery are intended for personal, educational and nonprofit/non-commercial use only.
Videos credited to the National Science Foundation, an agency of the U.S. Government, may be distributed freely. However, some materials within the videos may be copyrighted. If you would like to use portions of NSF-produced programs in another product, please contact the Video Team in the Office of Legislative and Public Affairs at the National Science Foundation.
Additional information about general usage can be found in Conditions.