Bioluminescent Plankton at Night Create Magical Blue Imagery

Light by Living Organism. It may seem magical, and it is!

A mystical sight – but what you see is true: a long stretch of a beach covered by billions of luminous blue dots. The seemingly magical imagery is actually anything but it is caused by bioluminescent phytoplankton.

Glowing like Fireflies

The tiny Plankton organisms glow like fireflies whenever they are stressed or otherwise agitated by surface tension and acidity. usually, bioluminescence is only produced in warm coastal waters. This happens commonly in some of the beaches in the Maldives and San Diego, where most the pictures and movie shots in this post are taken.

Marcodevisser.com_Illumniscent Plankton by Night (6)

Emitting Light when Stressed

The surreal appearance of the beach is actually down to a massive tide of bioluminescent phytoplankton called Lingulodinium polyedrum. The tiny organisms emit light when stressed, be it by the lapping of waves, the carving action of a surf board or other, creating what looks like a network of stars.

Bioluminescence – The Phenomenon

Bioluminescence is the production and emission of light by a living organism. Bioluminescence is a form of luminescence, or “cold light” emission by living organisms. A similar luciferase is used in other bioluminescence species such as fireflies, a few beetles, some bacteria, as well as other dinoflagellates. Less than 20% of the light generates thermal radiation.

Bioluminescence – The Function

The function of bioluminescence in has been hypothesized to be a form of communication between each of the organisms. Early work suggested it might serve as a warning system of sheer forces of near by preditors, more recent work suggests it might play a role in maintaining and synchronizing circadian rhythm (internal cell clock, for keeping track of cell cycle).

Hope you got as impressed as I am. Once, I hope to see this intriguing phenomenon live on stage!

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2 thoughts on “Bioluminescent Plankton at Night Create Magical Blue Imagery

  1. Pingback: Lighting Up the Night – Fireflies Blazing Beautiful Patterns in the Dark | Light | 3DP | Optics
  2. Pingback: Will Luminous Trees be our Future Street Lights? | Light | 3DP | Optics

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