Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Do you know what’s causing the waves in California to glow?

Bioluminescent waves in California

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


Ernie Branscomb said...

It's very common, we used to see the waves do that at Usal while night fishing with dip nets.

ImBlogCrazy said...

Hi Ernie,

I've seen it (the glow) too in the past but had no idea what was causing it.

Today I learned something new. I like to share stuff like this.