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Watch surfers ride neon blue bioluminescent waves caused by red tide

On the beaches of Southern California, a phytoplankton called Lingulodinium polyedrum is responsible for a spate of red tide. Massive algal blooms like this make the water ruddy during the day, but disrupting the microorganisms at night results in bursts of electric blue bioluminescence. Says Scripps Institution of Oceanography Professor Dr. Peter Franks of this phenomenon:

[Lingulodinium polyedrum is] intensely bioluminescent. When jostled, each organism will give off a flash of blue light created by a chemical reaction within the cell. When billions and billions of cells are jostled — say, by a breaking wave — you get a seriously spectacular flash of light.

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As you can see in the above video, the surfers cause neon bursts whenever they begin paddling. This particular dinoflagellate is not toxic, and the electric blue waves should last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.

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[Via The Scuttlefish and The L.A. Times]

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DISCUSSION

worsethannormal

Better than surfing in waters filled with bioluminescence, is diving in them. I remember doing a night off the Perhentians. I was watching a Cuttlefish and lost my dive partner and guide. So I did what one is supposed to in that situation and turned off my light. As I turned, looking for the glow of the other's lights in the distance, the entire ocean around me lit up with these glowing-green tracers. And then I noticed the lightening storm going on in the sky above. If you've never watched a lightening storm from 18 meters below the waters surface, surrounded by a bioluminescent sea, I highly recommend it.