Pyrosomes: Enigmatic marine inhabitants with an important role in the Cabo Verde ecosystem

Pyrosomes, named after the Greek words for 'fire bodies' due their bright bioluminescence, are pelagic tunicates that spend their entire lives swimming in the open ocean. They are made up of many smaller animals, known as zooids, that sit together in a tubular matrix, known as tunic (hence the name pelagic tunicates). Because they live in the open ocean, they generally go unnoticed. In spite of this, increasing research points to their importance in marine environments, as they can form dense blooms that impact food web dynamics and contribute to the movement and transformation of organic carbon.