Glowing plankton create bioluminescent waves off California coast

Subscribe | UPI Odd Newsletter

Aug. 19 (UPI) -- A California aquarium shared video of an unusual light show that resulted when light-producing plankton caused bioluminescent waves to crash toward shore.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium said the waves spotted just off shore along the coast in Monterey Bay appeared to be glowing blue due to the presence of plant-plankton known as dinoflagellates, but the specific species involved in the recent waves had yet to be identified.


"When a dinoflagellate is shaken up, a light-emitting chemical reaction inside the plankter produces a blue flash that startles a would-be predator, limiting their effectiveness -- imagine a strobe light going off with every bite of a sandwich," the aquarium said.

The aquarium said bioluminescent plankton are common in the ocean, but it's unusual to see such a prominent light display so close to the shore.

Latest Headlines