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Sea Animals' Instinct: the Investigation of Sea Animals Detecting Light

Peabody Charter School
Teacher: John Wilcox
Scientists: Shinichi Asao, Robin Pelc and Gerick Bergsma


We started this marine ecology project to see if marine animals know how shallow or deep they are by the colors around them. Are animals capable of determining where they are by using the colors surrounding them?

Hypothesis: If the animals want to be in shallow or deep water they would know by the color red and blue, with red indicating shallow water and blue indicating deeper water.



First we got a tub of sea water. Second, we put the one type of animal in the middle of the tank. Third, we placed the blue and red plastics on either side of the tank because the red represents the shallow water and the blue represents the deep water. Fourth, we observed if the animals went to the red or blue side. Fifth, we made a table.

We used sea stars, snails, and sea urchins for our experiements.

We used a tally chart to collect our data.



Most of the intetidal animals went toward the red side. Forty-six snails went to the red side and 9 snails went to the blue. Fourteen sea urchins went to the red half and 3 went to the blue. Ten sea stars had gone to the red part. Three sea stars moved toward the blue.



We think the animals went to the red because they knew that their food is there and they were probably hungry. They would not want to go to the blue because their predators would be there to eat them up. Plus it is their home. They might have been tired. So they went to the red to go to sleep there. Now we know they go to the red toward their home.


We concluded that sea animals like sea stars, snails and urchins like shallower places to maybe look for food and other things. The animals mostly went to the red becasue their instincts tell them that red means shallow and blue means deep. Red only shows up in the shallow parts of the ocean, and blue only shows up in shallow and the deep parts of the ocean and that's what we concluded.