Puffin Beaks Glow under UV light! Biomimicry Journal

Have you ever seen a puffin in the wild?

One of the great things about biomimicry is that there is interesting information and great videos on the Internet and in the library. So, if you just like me have never had the pleasure of seeing a puffin in the wild, you can still study this beautiful bird and feel inspired by it. Of course, it would be wonderful to see a breeding colony during spring or summer but. . . well, the great bird can still be studied, loved and used to spark ideas.

When we searched for images of puffins to draw, we stumbled upon a great image of a puffin with a glowing beak!

The beak reflects the blue light and re-emits it as a different colour— green, red, or orange. Puffins are biofluorescent animals, which is different from bioluminescence, where the animal either produces the light itself or hosts other organisms that shine.

Exactly why a puffin has a beak that glows is a bit of a mystery. But many marine animals such as corals, sea turtles, fish, seahorses and sharks emit a luminous glow under the water. If you shine blue light on them they glow.

We painted a puffin in the Biomimicry Journal with a beak that is almost glowing!

Creating a Biomimicry Journal is a bit different from designing a Nature Journal. Just like when you are making a Nature journal you can make drawings and write about what you see, smell, feel, taste and hear. You can also glue in leaves, flowers and other nature treasures. But you also need to think about ideas and how you can use the observations to “invent ” and design things. And this is the most exciting part!

Imagine a t-shirt that glows in different colours depending on the light. On a rainy day, it might become brighter to cheer you up, and on a sunny day . . . What exciting ideas do you have?

Link to resource

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