The NHRCP is proud to now offer UV Night Dives as an option for students who are looking to enhance their night diving experience! A fluorescent night dive is an altogether different kind of diving experience, so let's go into a bit of the background about what makes these dives so special.
Fluorescence is a phenomena that humankind has only been aware since the mid-1800s. Since it's discovery, fluorescence has been found in a vast array of different minerals, but most importantly for us, marine organisms. These organisms use fluorescent proteins to absorb light in the high energy ultraviolet spectrum, and re-emit it in the visible light spectrum. Under normal conditions this is difficult to observe with the naked eye, as UV light only makes up a fraction of the amount of light radiating off the sun and other pigments in coral like those that come from xoozanthellae block out much of the fluorescence. However, if we train a UV torch on organisms that contain these fluorescent proteins and look at it through an interference (a.k.a dichroic) filter, the photochemical reaction can be easily seen.
Studying organisms under ultraviolet light has already yielded a wealth of novel discoveries to the field of marine science, and in particular has revolutionized the fields of fluorescent microscopy, genetic engineering and psytrance festivals. For us here at the NHRCP it gives us the chance to see the coral reefs we love in an entirely different light.