Discovering Living Light

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Discovering Living Light

This project utilises the phenomena of bioluminescence and fluorescence to inspire our participants to want to discover more, about the science behind flashes and glows. The project manager is Dr Valerie Morse. The target audience is school and college students who are over 16. In the local Milford Haven water way there are many examples of marine creatures who are bioluminescent and fluorescent. Marine discovery workshops will enable participants to examine, record and identify local marine species using microscopes. They will go on to discover which species are bioluminescent and/or fluorescent (some specimens will contain GFP green fluorescent protein). Their findings will contribute to an overall data base. Some data will be shared with international scientists, including Professor Jerome Mallefet from Belgium. The temperature of the seawater the creatures live in will also be recorded to produce an on-going log. Specimens will be photographed under the microscope. Bioluminescence and the biomedical applications of bioluminescence and fluorescence will be covered. Green fluorescent protein has many applications in medicine, and all participants will learn about these.

There are opportunities for participants to become involved in on-going research into bioluminescent hydroids. There is also the chance to conduct individual research projects. We will also hold research days for smaller groups to experience hands on marine research.  Follow up workshops will enable participants to investigate cutting edge science themes.

Work strongly linked to the science curriculum will be included in the workshops, together with issues raised by “cutting edge” science. As part of the project we will also hold a Glow-worm hunt, in July aimed at a family audience. Interested teachers can book a preliminary visit to the marine laboratory to view the facilities and discuss how to tailor a workshop to suit the curriculum needs of their groups.

Early Events

  • 24th July 2015 “Discovering living light”. Lecture on applications of bioluminescence and fluorescence in medicine, by Prof Anthony Campbell linked with a glow-worm hunt. Venues are Welston Court Science Centre and Freshwater East beach.
  • 22nd October “Discovering living light”. Workshop on the applications of bioluminescence and fluorescence in medicine, by Dr Valerie Morse and Samantha Williams. Includes demonstrations of bioluminescence and fluorescence in the oceans, and examination of marine specimens, part of the “The Big Bang Pembrokeshire”  at the Bridge Innovation Centre in Pembroke Dock.


Marine Research Projects

Pupils from a range of school sixth forms and students from Pembrokeshire College have attended marine research days at Welston Court in Milton and Cedar Court in Milford Haven which have included fieldwork. These students are now carrying out their own marine research projects.

Download the list of species collected by the project so far: wellcomemarinedata2016


Press Articles


June 2017: Celebration Event           

In late June 2017, pupils who had conducted research projects gave power point presentations on their findings to an audience at the Milford Haven Port Authority. They were then presented with certificates, and medals by Prof Tony Campbell.  Dr Valerie More presented a summary of the projects achievements. The audience included representatives from the Darwin Centre for Biology and Medicine, Pembrokeshire County council, Port of Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire College and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.

The Discovering Living light project is now continuing until 31.05.18.  Over 16’s are participating in marine research days and other advanced biology workshops.

Dissemination of the project achievements.

An article summarising the project achievements has been published in the first edition of The Young Darwinian journal pg22-23. In the same edition is an article on one of the pupil research projects on GFP written by Calum Wincott and Karen Soh.

 In February 2018 Dr Valerie Morse gave a power point presentation on the project achievements to an invited audience at the Pembrokeshire County Council chamber. She is also giving a presentation in May at the international symposium of bioluminescence and fluorescence in Nantes France.