I’m a marine biologist
and an explorer-photographer with National Geographic, but I want to share a secret. This image is totally incorrect, totally incorrect. I see a couple of people
crying in the back that I’ve blown their idea of mermaids. All right, the mermaid is indeed real, but anyone who’s gone on a dive will know that the ocean
looks more like this. It’s because the ocean
is this massive filter, and as soon as you start going underwater, you’re going to lose your colors, and it’s going to get dark
and blue very quickly. But we’re humans —
we’re terrestrial mammals. And we’ve got trichromatic vision, so we see in red, green and blue, and we’re just complete color addicts. We love eye-popping color, and we try to bring this eye-popping color underwater with us. So there’s been a long and sordid history
of bringing color underwater, and it starts 88 years ago
with Bill Longley and Charles Martin, who were trying to take
the first underwater color photograph. And they’re in there
with old-school scuba suits, where you’re pumping air down to them, and they’ve got a pontoon
of high-explosive magnesium powder, and the poor people
at the surface are not sure when they’re going to pull the string
when they’ve got their frame in focus, and — boom! — a pound
of high explosives would go off so they could put
a little bit of light underwater and get an image
like this beautiful hogfish. I mean, it’s a gorgeous image,
but this is not real. They’re creating an artificial environment so we can satisfy
our own addiction to color. And looking at it the other way,
what we’ve been finding is that instead of bringing color
underwater with us, that we’ve been looking at the blue ocean, and it’s a crucible of blue, and these animals living there
for millions of years have been evolving all sorts of ways
to take in that blue light and give off other colors. And here’s just a little sample
of what this secret world looks like. It’s like an underwater light show. (Music) Again, what we’re seeing here
is blue light hitting this image. These animals are absorbing the blue light and immediately transforming this light. So if you think about it, the ocean
is 71 percent of the planet, and blue light can extend down
to almost a 1,000 meters. As we go down underwater, after about 10 meters,
all the red is gone. So if you see anything
under 10 meters that’s red, it’s an animal transforming
and creating its own red. This is the largest single monochromatic
blue environment on our planet. And my gateway into this world
of biofluorescence begins with corals. And I want to give
a full TED Talk on corals and just how cool these things are. One of the things that they do,
one of their miraculous feats, is they produce lots of these
fluorescent proteins, fluorescent molecules. And in this coral, it could be making
up to 14 percent of its body mass — could be this fluorescent protein. So you wouldn’t be making, like,
14 percent muscle and not using it, so it’s likely doing something
that has a functional role. And for the last 10, 15 years,
this was so special to me, because this molecule has turned out
to be one of the most revolutionary tools in biomedical science, and it’s allowing us
to better see inside ourselves. So, how do I study this? In order to study biofluorescence,
we swim at night. And when I started out, I was just using these blue
duct-tape filters over my strobe, so I could make sure
I’m actually seeing the light that’s being transformed by the animals. We’re making an exhibit
for the Museum of Natural History, and we’re trying to show off how great
the fluorescent corals are on the reef, and something happened
that just blew me away: this. In the middle of our corals, is this green fluorescent fish. It’s the first time we’ve ever seen
a green fluorescent fish or any vertebrate for that matter. And we’re rubbing our eyes,
checking the filters, thinking that somebody’s maybe
playing a joke on us with the camera, but the eel was real. It was the first green
fluorescent eel that we found, and this just changed
my trajectory completely. So I had to put down my corals and team up with a fish scientist, John Sparks, and begin a search around the world to see how prevalent this phenomenon is. And fish are much more
interesting than corals, because they have really advanced vision, and some of the fish even have,
the way that I was photographing it, they have lenses in their eyes
that would magnify the fluorescence. So I wanted to seek this out further. So we designed a new set of gear and we’re scouring the reefs
around the world, looking for fluorescent life. And it’s a bit like “E.T. phone home.” We’re out there swimming
with this blue light, and we’re looking for a response, for animals to be absorbing the light
and transferring this back to us. And eventually, we found
our photobombing Kaupichphys eel. It’s a really shy, reclusive eel
that we know almost nothing about. They’re only about the size of my finger, and they spend about 99.9 percent
of their time hidden under a rock. But these eels do come out to mate
under full-moon nights, and that full-moon night
translates underwater to blue. Perhaps they’re using this
as a way to see each other, quickly find each other, mate, go back into their hole
for the next long stint of time. But then we started to find
other fluorescent marine life, like this green fluorescent bream, with its, like, racing stripes
along its head and its nape, and it’s almost camouflaged
and fluorescing at the same intensity as the fluorescent coral there. After this fish, we were introduced to this red
fluorescent scorpionfish cloaked and hidden on this rock. The only time we’ve ever seen this,
it’s either on red fluorescent algae or red fluorescent coral. Later, we found this stealthy
green fluorescent lizardfish. These lizardfish come in many varieties, and they look almost exactly alike
under white light. But if you look at them
under fluorescent light, you see lots of patterns, you can really see
the differences among them. And in total — we just reported
this last year — we found over 200 species
of biofluorescent fish. One of my inspirations is French artist
and biologist Jean Painlevé. He really captures this entrepreneuring,
creative spirit in biology. He would design his own gear,
make his own cameras, and he was fascinated with the seahorse,
Hippocampus erectus, and he filmed for the first time
the seahorse giving birth. So this is the male seahorse. They were one of the first fish
to start swimming upright with their brain above their head. The males give birth, just phenomenal creatures. So he stayed awake for days. He even put this electrical visor
on his head that would shock him, so he could capture this moment. Now, I wish I could have shown Painlevé the moment where we found
biofluorescent seahorses in the exact same species
that he was studying. And here’s our footage. (Music) They’re the most cryptic fish. You could be swimming right on top of them
and not see the seahorse. They would blend right into the algae,
which would also fluoresce red, but they’ve got great vision, and they go through
this long mating ritual, and perhaps they’re using it
in that effect. But things got pretty edgy when we found green
fluorescence in the stingray, because stingrays are
in the Elasmobranch class, which includes … sharks. So I’m, like, a coral biologist. Somebody’s got to go down and check
to see if the sharks are fluorescent. And there I am. (Laughter) And I was like, “Maybe I should
go back to corals.” (Laughter) It turns out that these sharks
are not fluorescent. And then we found it. In a deep, dark canyon
off the coast of California, we found the first
biofluorescent swellshark, right underneath all the surfers. Here it is. They’re just about a meter long.
It’s called a swellshark. And they call them a swellshark
because if they’re threatened, they can gulp down water
and blow up like an inner tube, about twice their size, and wedge themselves under a rock,
so they don’t get eaten by a predator. And here is our first footage
of these biofluorescent swellsharks. Just magnificent — I mean,
they’re showing these distinct patterns, and there are areas that are fluorescent
and areas that are not fluorescent, but they’ve also got these
twinkling spots on them that are much brighter
than other parts of the shark. But this is all beautiful to see. I was like, this is gorgeous. But what does it mean to the shark? Can they see this? And we looked in the literature, and nothing was known
about this shark’s vision. So I took this shark to eye specialist
Ellis Loew at Cornell University, and we found out that this shark
sees discretely and acutely in the blue-green interface, probably about 100 times better
than we can see in the dark, but they only see blue-green. So what it’s doing
is taking this blue world and it’s absorbing the blue,
creating green. It’s creating contrast
that they can indeed see. So we have a model, showing that it creates an ability
for them to see all these patterns. And males and females
also have, we’re finding, distinct patterns among them. But our last find came really just
a few miles from where we are now, in the Solomon Islands. Swimming at night, I encountered
the first biofluorescent sea turtle. So now it’s going from fish
and sharks into reptiles, which, again, this is only one month old, but it shows us
that we know almost nothing about this hawksbill turtle’s vision. And it makes me think about
how much more there is to learn. And here in the Solomon Islands, there’s only a few thousand
breeding females of this species left, and this is one of the hotspots for them. So it shows us how much we need
to really protect these animals while they’re still here,
and understand them. In thinking about biofluorescence, I wanted to know, how deep does it go? Does this go all the way
to the bottom of the ocean? So we started using submarines,
and we equipped them with special blue lights
on the front here. And we dropped down, and we noticed one important thing — that as we get down to 1,000 meters, it drops off. There’s no biofluorescent marine life
down there, below 1,000 meters — almost nothing, it’s just darkness. So it’s mainly a shallow phenomenon. And below 1,000 meters, we encountered the bioluminescent zone, where nine out of 10 animals
are actually making their own lights and flashing and blinking. As I try to get deeper, this is slapping on a one-person
submarine suit — some people call this my “Jacques Cousteau
meets Woody Allen” moment. (Laughter) But as we explore down here, I was thinking about: How do we
interact with life delicately? Because we’re entering
a new age of exploration, where we have to take great care, and we have to set examples
how we explore. So I’ve teamed up with roboticist Rob Wood
at Harvard University, and we’ve been designing
squishy underwater robot fingers, so we can delicately interact
with the marine life down there. The idea is that most of our technologies
to explore the deep ocean come from oil and gas and military, who, you know, they’re not really
caring to be gentle. Some corals could be 1,000 years old. You don’t want to just go
and crush them with a big claw. So my dream is something like this. At night, I’m in a submarine, I have force-feedback gloves, and I could delicately set up
a lab in the front of my submarine, where the squishy robot fingers are delicately collecting
and putting things in jars, and we can conduct our research. Back to the powerful applied applications. Here, you’re looking at a living brain that’s using the DNA
of fluorescent marine creatures, this one from jellyfish and corals, to illuminate the living brain
and see its connections. It’s funny that we’re using RGB just to kind of satisfy
our own human intuition, so we can see our brains better. And even more mind-blowing, is my close colleague
Vincent Pieribone at Yale, who has actually designed and engineered
a fluorescent protein that responds to voltage. So he could see
when a single neuron fires. You’re essentially looking at
a portal into consciousness that was designed by marine creatures. So this brings me all back
to perspective and relationship. From deep space, our universe looks
like a human brain cell, and then here we are in the deep ocean, and we’re finding
marine creatures and cells that can illuminate the human mind. And it’s my hope
that with illuminated minds, we could ponder the overarching
interconnectedness of all life, and fathom how much more lies in store if we keep our oceans healthy. Thank you. (Applause)

Glow-in-the-dark sharks and other stunning sea creatures | David Gruber
Tagged on:                                         

100 thoughts on “Glow-in-the-dark sharks and other stunning sea creatures | David Gruber

  • August 3, 2019 at 3:24 am
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    woman's mind: i don't know what he talking about
    but ooh he's smart and successful, i'm here bb hahahhahaha
    ex. 9:04

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  • August 3, 2019 at 10:43 am
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    Reminds me of that video talking about how human women glow with stripes due to a specific mechanism in their cell growth patterns, but we as a species can't even see it so it's completely useless to us.

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  • August 3, 2019 at 1:19 pm
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    My first day at college 9:04

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  • August 3, 2019 at 5:49 pm
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    That was amazing! Very well done and so informative. Now we need to re-research everything we thought we knew about aquatic life because this is hugh. This can even help (perhaps) with limiting shark attacks if they see certain colors and avoid those and we use that as our swimsuits. Who knows. Marine biology is such a fun and fascinating thing. I love it.

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  • August 3, 2019 at 8:53 pm
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    8:10 Elasmobranchii is a subclass of Chondrichthyes or cartilaginous fish, including the sharks and the rays, skates, and sawfish.

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  • August 3, 2019 at 9:40 pm
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    I Am The Black Dragon!!!
    IMMORTALIZE ME!!!

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  • August 4, 2019 at 1:27 pm
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    Why is the audience so small for this TED talk they should've went to a university

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  • August 4, 2019 at 6:40 pm
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    Wierd dude

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  • August 4, 2019 at 8:55 pm
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    "Addiction to color?!" Time to say goodbye. God created us to LOVE color and to understand it.

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  • August 5, 2019 at 1:48 am
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    oceans havent been clean since Manhattanproject?? THE REAL REASON SOMALI'S take over industrial waste dumping ships!!NEVER MINDnavy' new, SONAR WEAPON..just used? on laboratorie sub/Russia, doing earth core/Arctic-PER U.N….REQUEST!!??

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  • August 5, 2019 at 12:13 pm
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    Sometimes it’s nice to leave things alone
    I don’t want to understand consciousness, we’re not supposed to.

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  • August 5, 2019 at 2:15 pm
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    Wow wow wow

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  • August 5, 2019 at 3:51 pm
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    Take a peek at Gymnothorax

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  • August 5, 2019 at 10:14 pm
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    It’s bothers me immensely how he hardly moves his mouth while talking, he doesn’t even move his lips

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  • August 5, 2019 at 11:11 pm
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    its pretty simple. lifeforms have a way of seeing things in dark. bio luminence. who provides the blue light is the question.

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  • August 6, 2019 at 12:38 am
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    He lost me when he said the fish have been evolving for millions of years,

    Only stupid indoctrinated evolutionist people believe in millions of years

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  • August 6, 2019 at 3:18 am
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    8:45

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  • August 6, 2019 at 4:51 am
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    Finding the interconnectedness is awe-inspiring.

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  • August 6, 2019 at 6:57 am
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    For real tho……. Coral creeps me out!!!! 😔

    The characters on pirates of the Caribbean didn't help.

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  • August 6, 2019 at 7:12 am
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    Can't even pronounce well the name of "one of your inspirations" asstrash

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  • August 6, 2019 at 10:41 am
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    I'm humbled.
    But, I'm also inspired.
    I grew up with coral reefs at the bottom of my garden. I relive every moment of my life during which I swam and walked on the beautiful reef. Sixty years ago I was often alone on miles of silver sand, and turquoise sea.
    Even at that time a Japanese 'research vessel' would occasionally chug along the near shore until my father and others became suspicious. Covert observation by scuba divers revealed the vessel sucking up swathes of reef floor to harvest sea slugs specifically for gastronomic inspection.
    Even then, men were beginning the destruction of marine eco-systems. This video was both fascinating yet sad at the same time, because the speaker constantly referred to the possible extinction of species and habitats.
    Stop now. Fight now. Educate now.

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  • August 6, 2019 at 11:05 am
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    Awsome

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  • August 6, 2019 at 1:06 pm
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    what an incredible talk!

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  • August 6, 2019 at 1:33 pm
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    An important message for all at the end of his speech, if only humanity can pull their fingers out and start to respect the eco system of our planet. Before we doom ourselves.

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  • August 6, 2019 at 6:00 pm
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    Are these all filmed using fluorescent bulbs with blue filters, or can any visible light source be enough?

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  • August 6, 2019 at 6:31 pm
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    Glow in the shark dark

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  • August 6, 2019 at 9:17 pm
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    Question the beauty of the earth, the beauty of the sea, the beauty of the wide air around you, the beauty of the sky; question the order of the stars, the sun whose brightness lights the days, the moon whose splendor softens the gloom of night; question the living creatures that move in the waters, that roam upon the earth, that fly through the air; the spirit that lies hidden, the matter that is manifest; the visible things that are ruled, the invisible things that rule them; question all these. They will answer you: "Behold and see, we are beautiful." Their beauty is their confession to God. Who made these beautiful changing things, if not one who is beautiful and changeth not?

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  • August 7, 2019 at 2:50 am
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    Thats why i play subnautica: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BtP8r8nRfko

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  • August 7, 2019 at 6:48 am
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    Are there plastic bits in the coral now ???. Are they eating plastic more then their natural food ? Please answer

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  • August 7, 2019 at 2:37 pm
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    The blonde woman at 1:01 and 9:04 is 100% a robot

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  • August 7, 2019 at 6:08 pm
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    Squishy Underwater Robot Fingers

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  • August 7, 2019 at 6:25 pm
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    I wonder if there is any relationship with the creatures from Life Aquatic ->

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SxW9x5rV_Ec

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  • August 7, 2019 at 8:10 pm
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    Is he on tinder?

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  • August 7, 2019 at 10:28 pm
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    God made them.

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  • August 8, 2019 at 2:21 am
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    Ok, wtf is up with this girl at 9:04

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  • August 8, 2019 at 9:08 am
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    This is how aliens go back and give lectures after they explore earth

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  • August 9, 2019 at 1:12 am
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    This is SICK

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  • August 9, 2019 at 2:25 am
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    Wow, some people found it too difficult to applaud his wonderful presentation. Maybe they just don't get it.

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  • August 9, 2019 at 4:29 am
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    Fukushima sort of beat you to the Punch! Truly! Wait for San Onofre, that should compound the Solution!

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  • August 9, 2019 at 7:49 am
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    Probably from the radiation from Fukushima lol 😁

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  • August 9, 2019 at 9:08 am
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    This video comes off more like a childish nerd and we dont learn a thing

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  • August 9, 2019 at 2:00 pm
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    Don't you mean glow in the dark dogfish?

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  • August 9, 2019 at 4:37 pm
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    Who else got this in the recommendations?

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  • August 9, 2019 at 8:00 pm
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    Petition to rename those sharks Starmap Sharks

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  • August 10, 2019 at 8:23 pm
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    9:04 you okay hun?

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  • August 11, 2019 at 2:01 am
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    So Moana’s grandma

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  • August 11, 2019 at 3:43 am
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    I was today years old when I learned that sea turtles are actually reptiles

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  • August 11, 2019 at 6:57 pm
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    This was an amazing presentation. He completely brought it back around to the human experience and made it so clear. The ocean is like a giant brain. There are organisms flashing lights, making connections, keeping the world going as much as it can. The fact that these creatures use light to seemingly show themselves and possibly communicate through light is amazing.

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  • August 11, 2019 at 10:25 pm
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    Ok, cool, now tell me where you got all the money from, to make this research all over the world???

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  • August 12, 2019 at 3:43 am
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    13:20 what they cut off???

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  • August 12, 2019 at 6:53 am
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    He lost me at the end there

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  • August 13, 2019 at 3:05 am
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    Bio-luminescent coral and sharks… cool, whatever. Did everybody just overlook the fact a marine biologist just openly claimed mermaids are real?! Why TF are we talking about glowing fish? Please provide discussion RE: Mermaids asap. K thnx.

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  • August 13, 2019 at 7:46 am
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    There it is: how to do science without affecting the experiment. Very difficult to have a submersible machine with no discernible waveform signature to marine life. Any vibration, electrical, magnetic, light, or other signature would be almost impossible to completely conceal from marine life. A human with passive imaging goggles in a heavily shielded submersible that was adjusted for frequency and temp(to look like a whale, whale shark, squid, etc) would probably have less likelihood of spooking apex predators of the deep. All the critters known to science are stupider than us. Finding the beings that can spot human life from miles away and have brain function at least as great as the average human, that is the next frontier of marine science. Along with cloning and rebuilding bait st
    ocks and beneficial plankton, but that's a different gripe.

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  • August 13, 2019 at 7:54 am
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    Excellent presentation.

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  • August 13, 2019 at 10:42 am
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    Thank you, marine biologist Fred Savage

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  • August 13, 2019 at 2:39 pm
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    Okay.. I'll say it. Sooo..you put a blacklight on stuff.

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  • August 13, 2019 at 2:51 pm
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    Cool

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  • August 13, 2019 at 4:41 pm
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    That’s run off from the Fukushima radiation plant leaking into the sea

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  • August 13, 2019 at 5:11 pm
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    What a neard

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  • August 13, 2019 at 9:40 pm
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    Praise to God, who is the creator of all these beautiful and wonderful creatures!

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  • August 14, 2019 at 1:34 am
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    Oh science 🥰🥰🥰🥰

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  • August 14, 2019 at 2:31 pm
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    A very cute, passionate, nerd. I love him.

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  • August 14, 2019 at 10:10 pm
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    Problem is that even at ten cents a day to build funds for exploration. The general consensus is that the effort of ten cents can not be trusted to produce results in the hands of our leaders. This is because all that deciete going on in general blocks our minds. Go back and look for when money, real money was made. Slavery, some say, was the beginning of heaps of capital. Who wheilds it, Tony Martin perhaps have a clue? One thing you can say about these people is, they are not intelligent! The world is diying! How smart is that?

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  • August 14, 2019 at 11:36 pm
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    Glow in the dark shark: Bruh

    Me: Ok?

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  • August 15, 2019 at 7:43 am
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    Glow in the Shark

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  • August 15, 2019 at 5:41 pm
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    This video with David Gruber speech on his discovery and studies are impressive. Also, I wish many hopes to be safe and humane as he strives further.

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  • August 16, 2019 at 9:02 am
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    We know nothing of the Ocean world.

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  • August 16, 2019 at 7:05 pm
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    It’s always amazing to see that when we think we know everything about God’s creation, nope! Wrong bioluminescent marine sea creatures. Such beautiful footage!

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  • August 16, 2019 at 8:05 pm
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    Sadly Republicans and more importantly Trump would say FAKE NEWS to this amazing opportunity of research.

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  • August 16, 2019 at 8:56 pm
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    Makes me question the official narrative of how hallucinogens work. On a regular camera you cannot see this fluorescence but if you tweak the camera/eye then you can see things that were not there normally. Our eyes process images using electrochemical processes maybe these chemicals and plants are just tweaking the lens and we are seeing geometric patterns that are always there.

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  • August 23, 2019 at 9:42 am
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    too cool

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  • August 23, 2019 at 7:36 pm
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    Actually…

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  • August 23, 2019 at 7:39 pm
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    The Eel was Real. LoL.

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  • August 24, 2019 at 4:21 pm
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    Incredible. An image of the action potential of a neuron. Amazing!!!

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  • August 24, 2019 at 8:22 pm
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    Congratulations on finding literally the most mind blowing discovery ever !!

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  • August 25, 2019 at 5:08 am
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    Dude… if this world existed for a million years then based on the rotation of the earth and moon, then the moon would have already ran into the earth

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  • August 26, 2019 at 12:48 am
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    I wonder if all the nuclear waste seeping into the ocean all these decades is doing anything yet

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  • August 27, 2019 at 1:25 am
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    Sharks are not dangerous. and seahorses should not be shocked to please your curiosity. That is abuse. If you need this for medical research then medicine is not doing its job. Do you really need this to find out how the mind worked? Animals should never be sacrificed to cater to human curiosity. Animals are not here to serve us or be sacrificed for us. They are sentient and aware. Leave them alone.

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  • August 27, 2019 at 9:26 am
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    O'wad a gif' tae gi'e us .

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  • August 28, 2019 at 12:34 am
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    Man he has worked his butt off.

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  • August 28, 2019 at 3:05 pm
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    Still Justin bui Yellowstars ⭐ skinn… SoO fresh

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  • August 29, 2019 at 3:48 pm
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    any white object will glow like that under a florescent light

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  • August 30, 2019 at 6:58 am
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    This guy seems like a total f**** weirdo he looks like the Jeffrey Dahmer type and what the f*** is he wearing

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  • August 30, 2019 at 7:32 am
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    I used to love these Ted talks, but since I saw the one where they got that girl to talk about how misunderstood pedophiles are, I just can't take any of it seriously anymore. Like this guy talking about a soft grip hand to catch live specimens. Yea, build that, go catch an eel, then come back with the footage so we can all laugh.

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  • August 31, 2019 at 1:53 am
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    Yupc Solomon Islands

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  • August 31, 2019 at 3:11 am
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    Awesome

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  • September 2, 2019 at 10:33 pm
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    Almighty what a time to be alive.

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  • September 3, 2019 at 7:28 pm
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    Skip to the part that you came for: @8:47

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  • September 4, 2019 at 12:07 am
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    Nice just wondering why doesn't he pronounce letter l 😄

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  • September 7, 2019 at 9:26 pm
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    Brilliant
    amazing
    Thank you

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  • September 13, 2019 at 10:34 pm
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    So a mermaid is real.

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  • September 15, 2019 at 8:08 pm
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    All I can think of is…WOWWWWW!!! How great is our GOD!!!!!!😀 All praise to Him!!!!👍

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  • September 15, 2019 at 8:16 pm
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    Wouldn't it be foolish to thing these creature designed themselves so ferfectly with colours and patterns and all? Let me not mention…intelligence too!🤔🙄

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  • September 16, 2019 at 1:29 am
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    Who is behind this research; Who is funding it? Where is the incentive to finance awesome professional curiosity like this man? If there is no marketable, profitable product or technology potentially down the road, then it will take years to do basic campaigns.

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  • September 18, 2019 at 3:35 am
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    Basically shiny pokemon

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  • September 19, 2019 at 2:48 pm
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    What ever he is saying blue I'm watching green and green as red ! WHY ?!?

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  • September 20, 2019 at 3:28 pm
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    amazing personnel

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  • September 21, 2019 at 9:27 pm
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    This was awesome to watch and learn from some one who is passionate about there career! Life path! Well done, this was so fascinating, so much better than the usual junk on YouTube! Thankyou for taking the time to share. Bless you 😁🤗

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  • September 25, 2019 at 11:01 pm
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    the ending satisfied my curiosity yet the answer itself begged to ask more profound questions

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  • September 27, 2019 at 3:17 am
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    Bravo, Bravo, and again I say Bravo! This was a powerhouse presentation, Exemplary in all parts, points, and plot. It was so Informative, Engaging, Thought Provoking, and Dare I say Moving. I must confess, I can't recall a TED Speaker so Clearly Present and Totally Impassioned by the topic that they're truly unaware of the amount of Joy they're Manifesting/Exuding. Thank you David, Indeed I Thank you!

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