TALAT: Surf lights up blue in San Diego

May 11, 2018, 01:42
TALAT: Surf lights up blue in San Diego

The rare phenomenon, known as bioluminescence, stretches about 28 kilometres along the coast and scientists are not sure how long it will last.

"We're getting reports that the bioluminesence runs from La Jolla to Encinitas, but we don't know how big the red tide is", Latz told the San Diego Union-Tribune.

The spectacular display is caused by large aggregations of dinoflagellates (from the Greek: whirling whips) including Ceratium falcatiforme and Lingulodinium polyedra, which emit a neon blue glow at night, spurred by waves or movement in the water.

Bioluminescent is seen in the sea waves when an algae bloom is filled with phytoplankton which lights up the micro-organisms that tumble down from waves near the shore.

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Bioluminescence from a red tide turns breaking waves a stunning, yet eerie shade of blue.

If you live in the area, Scripps says the best time to catch the bioluminescent activity is from a dark beach at least two hours after sunset. In the past, blooms have lasted anywhere from a week to a month or more.

The bioluminescence is the result of a red tide offshore, according to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. The gentle glow is reminiscent of views seen of auroras or Northern Lights.

The red tide is most visible during the day between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. EDT, according to Scripps biological oceanographer Peter Franks. In California, the majority are not caused by species that produce toxins, such as domoic acid, according to researchers.

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Red tides are unpredictable events and do not always give off bioluminescence, Scripps said.

When these organisms gather at the surface for sunlight, they can create an especially intense red.

Written by Mark Saunders for KGTV.

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