Several Nobel Prize awards correlated with fluorescence
It is a long tradition that many Embyologists (Developmental Biologists) concentrated their interest in marine research. The term ecology was coined very late around 1960. Aspects of ecology and environmental protection (also sustainability) were unknown in the 19. and early 20. century. This is easy to understand, since environmental problems were unknown at thistime. Famous zoologist, especially developmental biologists (mainly Germans) worked at the well known marine station (Anton Dohrn) in Naples and other reserch stations, Sea urchin and lancelet fish Branchiostoma lanceolatum were favored objects for embryological studies.. It is not arrogant to say that still to day the early development of organisms is a cental topic in biology. The individual development (ontogenesis) is the most sensitive period of all organisms. The Contergan disaster during human embryogenesis is a terrible example. As we now know the adult organism is much more resistant against drugs and poison. Also the early stages of marine organisms are especially endangered. Therefore as developmental biologist my interest focussed on the distribution of early stages of corals (recruits). 1mm or less they can be detected during night dives with strong fluorecence torches. After my 8 month stay in USA at the NIH (National Institutes of Health) I introduced molecular biology techniques (also known in the public as gene technology) in my labatory. Many Ecologist and mirine biologist do not like to hear it - however, molecular techniques are meanwhile essential for many studies in marine biology. Even in taxonomy (determination of species) molecular methods are essential. My interest for marine biology can be explained especially by the new insights of coral development. It could be shown that they contain modified GFP-proteins, which are responsible for the species-specific colors after fluorescence stimulation. The original GFP (Green Fluorescent Protein) was detected in the jelly fish Aequorea victoria. The 3 scients earned for this study the Nobelprize for Chemistry in 2008. Details abot the life cicle of corals and the structure of GFP are documented in my pdf-File Coral Reefs - Rain Forest of the Sea and the German Version Korallenriff - Eintauchen in eine Zauberwelt mit Hilfe von HiTec Fluoreszenz bei Nachttauchgängen.
Therefore for me for me as Developmental Biologist the step was consequent to start research with fluorescence during night dives. Our research concentrates on large scanning (surveys) of endangered areas of the coral reef.
I should not forget to mention that many Vertebrates (fishes) and Evertebrates (shrimps etc.) show fluorescence in short wave light. The reasons for that phenomena is discussed ambivalently by experts like marine biologist and molecular biologists.
Importance of Excitation- and Barrier-filters for convincing results in underwater-fluorescence
There is a substantial confusion in the community about the right selection of torches, strobes and filters. An important point is the personal preference (subjective evaluation) of different results. Charles Mazel, a pioneer of underwater-fluorescence informs in a talk last December (2014) in Colorado about the right choice of barrier filters. see at minute 19:14 In this context I should mention that I used the original filters of Nightsea for this screenshot from one of my YouTube movie. By the way all my YouTube movies were filmed with this barrier filter.
From the scientific standpoint a fluorescent target should not contain any blue. However, some blue very often improves the impression of a photo. Blue in the backgrund together with yellow, yellow-green, green and red is superior to simple black background. To explain the different results from the physical standpoint, we, an engineer (Thomas Knura) and me, have mesured a lot of different yellow barrier filters. These data (diagrams) should explain the different results and could help to select the right filters. A detailed description of the reults you will find on a separate page. Details are shown here. For detailed information about the exact data (transmission percentages) you should contact me by email (horst.grunz et uni-due.de).
Comparison of different excitation filters Dichroic glass filter with special foil versus plastic foils (for example LEE 119) - advantages and shortcommings.