Creatures of Light | SLJ DVD Review

redstarCreatures of Light. (NOVA). 54 min. Dist. by PBS. 2016. $24.99. ISBN 9781627894739. Creatures of Light PBS

Gr 5 Up –Fireflies are dazzling; few land animals glow as they do. In the oceans, lighting up from within (bioluminescence) or by reflecting light (biofluorescence) is almost matter of fact—about 90 percent of ocean life glows. As this delightful program explains, marine biologists are trying to better understand these displays, since the science behind illumination can be used to track cancer, discover pollution, and perhaps even explain how the human brain works. Scientists have employed green fluorescent proteins to study cancer and viruses, and they are searching for usable red fluorescent proteins, as red light has a wavelength that can penetrate brain tissue very well. Creatures that glow are found all across the tree of life: from mushrooms and snails to fish and flies. They light up to hide from predators, to woo a mate, to lure prey, or to act as motion sensors. The program discusses how this process works and that fish see these intense colors all the time. VERDICT This gorgeous DVD is not just fun to watch for the glowing creatures but also for its terrific job of explaining the whys behind so much scientific inquiry. Science classes will learn how bioluminescence and biofluorescence work and why they are important to study. Engaging and useful.–Geri Diorio, Ridgefield Library, CT

This review was published in the School Library Journal August 2016 issue.

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