Light and Colour Underwater

A talk by Barry Kaye, Lancashire MCS: 19:30 on Wednesday 8th November at the Lancaster Maritime Museum, Custom House, St George’s Quay, Lancaster, LA1 1RB.

Jellyfish at Bloackpool Sealife Centre

Above: Some colourfully lit plankton from our visit to the Blackpool Sealife Centre last month.

Sunlight provides the power for photosynthesis, and is essential for life on Earth. While green plants make direct use of light, animals have evolved complex eyes adapted for vision in a range of marine environments; from shallow, brightly lit tropical waters, the dark green seas around our own coasts, and down to the abyssal depths where sunlight never penetrates…

In this talk I will try to show how things appear to the plants and animals that make the sea their home. We will see that colour may play a part in hiding from predators or attracting a mate, and many sea creatures perception and use of light is very different to our own.

Some marine animals have visual abilities that look like ‘superpowers’ compared to our own limited eyesight, but vision seems to be a very plastic sense that rapidly adapts to help (marine) organisms cope with their favoured environments. The world they see may be very different to what our eyes can make out, when we peer through a diving mask, or watch the ‘Blue Planet’ with David Attenborough!

Poster for Light and Colour Underwater 146kB PDF

As you may be aware the Lancaster Maritime Museum has suffered some devastating cuts to its budget, so we are very grateful to them for offering to host our meetings this Winter. Our full programme of talks is given below:

Lancashire MCS Winter Programme 2023-24


8th November: Light and Colour Underwater by Barry Kaye (Lancashire MCS).

13th December: Christmas Quiz by Lewis Bambury (Lancashire MCS).


10th January: Beyond the tearoom, the wildlife of the Small Isles (Muck, Eigg, Rum, Canna) and Knoydart by Mark Woombs (Lancashire MCS).

14th February: How are salt marshes helping to protect the North West coast? By Joseph Earl (Morecambe Bay Partnership).

13th March: The marine life of the first Morecambe Bay – 350 million years ago! By Trevor Lund.

10th April: Protecting the Environment – Realistically by John Blowes (Halton Lune Hydro) PLUS local group AGM.

8th May: Plankton of the Bay by Mark Woombs and Barry Kaye (Lancashire MCS).

12th June: Blackpool and Fylde College student dissertations (several 10 minute presentations).

All talks start an 19:30, at the Lancaster Maritime Museum. We request a donation of £4 per person to cover costs. This presentation will be available over Zoom, please contact us (contact page) if you would like, to receive a link. We do ask for a donation to cover Zoom charges.

Posted: November 2nd, 2023
Posted in MCS talks