A red tide is sparking a light show on some California beaches. It's caused by a collection of tiny organisms called dinoflagellates, some of which are known for their bioluminescence.
Check out this lovely photo of bioluminescent light in the ocean down in San Diego.
Red tide last occurred in San Diego in September 2013 and lasted a week; the previous red tide, in October 2011, lasted a month.
The Birch Aquarium at Scripps now has a display called, "Infinity Cube" which explains the phenomenon.
Stephen Bay, a Southern Californian based photographer, snagged a picture of the illuminating visual on Monday at Torrey Pines. 'It really was a bright blue color that was just fantastic to look at'. One of the best-known HABs occurs each year off Florida's Gulf Coast, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It's a type of algae that glows as a natural defence mechanism from predators that try to eat the blooms, according to Scripps Oceanography research scientist, Dimitri Deheyn. The toxins may also make the surrounding air hard to breathe.
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The current red tide is "quite patchy" and the bioluminescence can be seen only when the algae bloom gets close to shore, Latz said.
"Most blooms, in fact, are beneficial because the tiny plants are food for animals in the ocean".
The current red tide in San Diego is not harmful or toxic, though. "For example, when masses of algae die and decompose, the decaying process can deplete oxygen in the water, causing the water to become so low in oxygen that animals either leave the area or die".
Bioluminescence from a red tide turns breaking waves a stunning, yet eerie shade of blue.