Dinoflagellates may swim toward or away from various stimuli, including light (phototaxis), particular chemicals (chemotaxis), and gravitational force of the Earth (geotaxis).
Many dinoflagellates are bioluminescent. The bioluminescence system consists of the enzyme luciferase, its substrate luciferin, and a protein that binds luciferin. Most bioluminescent organisms in the ocean, including dinoflagellates, emit light with a peak wavelength near 490 nm. This wavelength, in the blue-green range, is minimally attenuated in water and maximally visible to most marine animals (Hackett et al. 2004). The function of dinoflagellate bioluminescence is not entirely clear, but a range of studies have supported the hypothesis that it serves as a defense against nocturnal grazers such as copepods (Buskey and Swift 1985 and references therein).
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