Ocean Flora and Fauna
Date: October 2008
I am a doctor and walk the beaches where I live all the
time. we saw in the surf a lime green color about half the size of a
football field.It was absolutely beautiful. The rest of the surf was
it's normal color. we had people coming up to us asking if we see
the green color When we returned to the area later it was gone I
could not come up with an explanation What causes this?
This phenomenon you observed was most likely caused by "bioluminescent"
dinoflagellates, as these microorganisms are known to produce the effect
of emitting light when they are disturbed. These are also known as
marine plankton or phytoplankton. Examples of these creatures are the
species that create "red tide" which is harmful to fish and irritating
to people. However, not all dinoflagellates are dangerous, nor do all
dinoflagellates exhibit this glowing effect. For the species that do
luminesce, when they are in heavy bloom, you can sometimes observe that
crashing ocean waves "glow" at night as well. It is thought that this
may be a means of communication between the organisms called "quorum
sensing"; which may aid in behavior coordination.
Hope this helps,
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Update: June 2012