It looks like something from the movie "Avatar": ocean waters that light up like neon glow sticks when they splash. Beaches across southern California have recently been alight with eerie, glowing waves. What could be causing such an otherworldly phenomenon?
A recent report by Discovery News has provided an answer. According to marine biologist Jorge Ribas, the glowing is caused by a massive red tide, or algae bloom, of bioluminescent phytoplankton called Lingulodinium polyedrum. The microorganisms emit light in response to stress, such as when a wave crashes into the shore, a surfboard slashes through the surf, or a kayaker's paddle splashes the water. The result is a wickedly cool glowing ocean. Photo: msauder/Flickr