07 March 2018

Bioluminescent stamps from USPS

Date of Issue : 22 February 2018

The United States Postal Service issued  10 extraordinary stamps on 22 February 2018..This pane of 20 stamps showcases 10 examples of Bioluminescent Life.   Although these stamps do not glow in the dark, they do incorporate a special effect. The stamp pane was produced using a proprietary rainbow holographic material that is highly reflective in white light. The stamps were produced using special techniques to enhance the reflective qualities of the material while maintaining the depth of color and detail of the individual images. The rainbow pattern imparts a sense of movement and light to the stamp pane.
Bioluminescence — the ability of some living things to generate their own light — occurs on many branches of the tree of life. 
At center top, the selvage — or area outside the stamps — features a transparent deep-sea comb jelly (Gregory G. Dimijian photo), surrounded by images of the firefly squid (Danté Fenolio). The title “BIOLUMINESCENT LIFE” appears on the selvage above the pane of stamps.
Eight stamp images represent the work of some of the top explorers of the bioluminescent ocean realm, and two portray land-based species. The stamps feature: deep-ocean octopus (Widder); midwater jellyfish (Widder); deep-sea comb jelly (Widder); mushroom (Taylor F. Lockwood); firefly (Gail Shumway); bamboo coral (Widder); marine worm (Widder); crown jellyfish (Widder); a second type of marine worm (Steve Haddock); and sea pen (Widder).
Bioluminescence performs a variety of functions 
Fairly rare among species on land, bioluminescence reigns supreme in the darkness of the deep ocean. Fishes, squids, jellyfish, worms and many other ocean organisms make varied use of their ability to glow. Their light can lure food, attract a mate or fend off a predator. For many species, bioluminescence is security lighting. For example, the midwater jellyfish — featured on one of the stamps — sets off flashing swirling rings of light when threatened. The display alerts other predators more likely to eat the attacker than the jellyfish itself.
Some species are born with bioluminescence, while others, like certain fishes and squids, have receptacles for displaying bioluminescent bacteria that they capture.
Since the late 19th century, many breakthrough discoveries regarding bioluminescence have come through the study of fireflies and flickering beetles. Because these beetles exist on every continent except Antarctica, they provide scientists with the most convenient means by which to investigate the phenomenon.
Fighting cancer and other diseases

Medical science has benefited tremendously from the study of luminous life-forms. Using genes that enable bioluminescence, scientists can make a cancer cell glow, enabling observation of how the disease behaves and spreads. Similar research is also vital in the fights against Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, anemia, malaria, dengue fever, HIV and many other illnesses.

Through improved deep-sea exploration and advances in photography, scientists have identified thousands of bioluminescent species. Yet many mysteries of bioluminescence remain unsolved, and many benefits of research await discovery.
Dazzling Bioluminescent Life Forever Stamps Come to Light Today
From left, the first row of stamps features a deep-ocean octopus (Stauroteuthis syrtensis) and a midwater jellyfish (Atolla vanhoeffeni), both photographed by Edith Widder of Ft. Pierce, FL. The octopus was photographed under external lighting. On each row of stamps, the third and fourth stamps repeat the first two designs.
Dazzling Bioluminescent Life Forever Stamps Come to Light Today
The second row of stamps begins with a deep-sea comb jelly (Bathocyroe fosteri), also by Widder and lit externally, then a cluster of mushrooms (Mycena lucentipes) by Taylor F. Lockwood of Mount Dora, FL.
Dazzling Bioluminescent Life Forever Stamps Come to Light Today
The third row features a firefly (Lampyridae) by Gail Shumway of Sarasota, FL, followed by a bamboo coral (Keratoisis flexibilis) by Widder.
Dazzling Bioluminescent Life Forever Stamps Come to Light Today
Widder also photographed both fourth-row images: a marine worm (Flota) and a crown jellyfish (Atolla wyvillei). Both are shown under external lighting.
Dazzling Bioluminescent Life Forever Stamps Come to Light Today
The fifth and final row of stamps offers another type of marine worm (Tomopteris), by Steve Haddock of Moss Landing, CA, and a sea pen (Umbellula) by Widder. Both marine species are shown under external lighting.
Source : USPS

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