It may look otherworldly, but a striking display of light seen on some beaches in Southern California this week has a very earthly (or ocean-y) explanation.
The San Diego coast is hosting a red tide, which is a bloom involving these single-cell organisms that can make the water appear red. Scripps Oceanography quoted Scripps scientist Michael Latz saying that "the red tide is due to massive numbers of dinoflagellates including Lingulodinium polyedra".
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A rare red tide washed up on San Diego beaches this week, lighting the shore with a neon blue glow from bioluminescent phytoplankton.
'It kind of looked like the color of a light saber, ' Bay said, according to CBS News.
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"It's this bright electrical blue color and it's handsome", Jami Leslie Feldman, owner of Underwater Paparazzi, told the news station. On this occasion, it is caused by a bloom of phytoplankton brought by the natural phenomenon known as the red tide. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), One of the best-known HABs occurs each year off Florida's Gulf Coast. The toxins may also make the surrounding air hard to breathe. It was a bioluminescent that added colour to the waters.
"Most blooms, in fact, are beneficial because the tiny plants are food for animals in the ocean".
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Bioluminescence from a red tide turns breaking waves a stunning, yet eerie shade of blue.