News / Ottawa

Museum of Nature has fun in the dark with bioluminescence

The Canadian Museum of Nature is betting on its newest exhibit being a hit this summer with psychedelic, glowing fish and their own “magical mushrooms.”

Creatures of Light: Nature Bioluminescence is a Canadian-first, opening this Saturday until Nov. 9 will be an interactive exhibit for all ages. The popular Nature Nocturne dance night, held monthly at the museum, will be a glow-in-the dark theme for party goers on May 23 to coincide with the new exhibit.

Hailing from the American Museum of Natural History in New York, the exhibit explores the phenomenon of bioluminescence in the world around us. Everything from fireflies, jellyfish, scorpions, glowworms, live flashlight fish, and yes, even mushrooms are featured.

Researchers still aren’t sure why some mushrooms produce their own light.

“We don’t quite understand what’s going on,” said Nicole Dupuis, the museum’s exhibition content developer. “It’s something that science is still trying to understand.”

A darkened aquarium filled with live flashlight fish, usually found in the depths of the ocean, will amaze onlookers with the organs under their eyes aglow. The bacteria in those organs illuminate so the fish can communicate, avoid being eaten, and attract prey.

“I think the show is such a great example of how magical nature is. This is adaptation that has developed independently in unrelated species,” said Dupuis. “It’s something that humans can’t do. No mammals are bioluminescent.”

Alongside the exhibit will be five "glow moments" spread throughout the museum, including  a graffiti glow booth on the main floor. Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for kids aged three to 12.

For more information about, visit nature.ca.

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