“It is a well known fact that, in spite of the attenuation of electromagnetic radiation produced by sea water, photosynthetic organisms thrive in the underwater ecosystem. But it is rather surprising that bacterial photosynthesis has been observed to take place deep within the Pacific Ocean, at depths in excess of 2,000 meters. This biological process is carried out by green-sulfur bacteria that are obligated photosynthetic organisms. That is, these organisms are required to conduct photosynthesis in order to survive. Even though at this depth the ocean is in total darkness to the human eye, the bacteria is able to efficiently absorb and process the dim light that comes from the sun or nearby hydrothermal vents. In a sense, the problem of highly efficient underwater photosensors has already been solved by nature through the evolution over millions of years of these underwater photosynthetic
“Let us recall that photosynthetic organisms posses molecular antenna systems that capture solar light and transport the energy to a metabolically expensive reaction center where the biochemical processes of photosynthesis begins. For many years it was conjectured that the transport of energy to the reaction center was due to classical energy transport mechanisms.
“However, it has recently been observed that photosynthetic proteins appear to use quantum coherence to transport energy in an efficient manner (nearly perfect quantum efficiency of the photo collection capture and transport processes). Indeed, quantum effects in photosynthetic light harvesting systems have been experimentally observed at cryogenic and at room temperature. These experiments required of sophisticated setups requiring ultra fast optics and 2D spectrography to detect the characteristic quantum signatures. In addition, a variety of theoretical efforts have proposed viable physical mechanisms that explain how quantum phenomena can be relevant at room temperature.”
– Marco Lanzagorta, et al., “Quantum Sensing in the Maritime Environment”