Glowing California beach looks like an aurora of the sea

11 May, 2018, 00:52 | Author: Keith Rowe
  • Bioluminescent bloom lights up waves

The phenomenon is caused by an algae bloom called bioluminescent phytoplankton that lights up when the microorganisms move through the sea as the waves crashes.

A massive influx dinoflagellates including "ceratium falcatiforme" and "Lingulodinium polyedra" are responsible for the red tides, according to the Scripps Insitution of Oceaonograhy based at the University California San Diego.

Photographer Stephen Bay, who captured images of the waves earlier this week and said the color reminded him of a Star Wars light saber, likened the bioluminescence display to another natural phenomenon.

Red Tide was first spotted Monday off the coast of San Diego to Encinitas. Other regions, including Puget Sound in the Northwest, experience shellfish toxicity, which Native Americans connected to bioluminescence hundreds of years ago.


"We're lucky here in Southern California that the organisms that are abundant here are not known to be toxic", Latz said, though some people can be "sensitive" to the algae bloom in San Diego. "Red tides are unpredictable and not all of them produce bioluminescence", Scripps notes, saying scientists don't know how long this particular event will last. "As the name suggests, the bloom of algae often turns the water red", NOAA notes, adding that not all algal blooms are harmful.

The photo, taken by John H. Moore and shared on Scripps Oceanography's Twitter page, shows "a red tide offshore San Diego bringing a spectacular display of #bioluminescence to beaches at night".

"These are unusual and rare events and they should be enjoyed".

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