BIOLUMINESCENCE IN SAN DIEGO

Bioluminescent waves, which glow a vivid blue as they crash ashore, have been dazzling nighttime visitors to the beach this week. Photographers have been snapping photos of the otherworldly surf as it has increased in intensity over the last few days.
The electric blue glow is caused by an algae bloom commonly referred to as a “red tide.” The organism,  a phytoplankton called Lingulodinium polyedrum, has bloomed since late August, turning the water a brownish-red color in the daytime, according to UC San Diego scientists.
The movement of the waves turns the tide a brilliant blue, visible only after night falls.
It’s caused by a chemical reaction on the cellular level, according to Scripps Institution of Oceanography Professor Peter J. Franks, who calls the phytoplankton “my favorite dinoflagellate.”
The striking surf has awed nighttime visitors to the San Diego-area shoreline, who have shared photographic evidence widely online. So much so that at times there are no available parking spaces at the beaches.

a bioluminescence wave

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