This week as night fell on southern Tasmanian seashores they appeared to light up the waters with a bizarre glowing sea of blue stars.
While glowing, rolling waves around Hobart made it look like scenes straight out of the alien Avatar movie, the jaw-dropping phenomena is in fact a natural light show sparked by billions of tiny marine organisms.
Fluorescent plankton – known as dinoflagellates – are sea creatures that are barely visible to the naked eye and are commonly referred to as algae. Whip-like projections called flagella allow them to swim fast while internally they produce their own form of bioluminescence. And when they occur in great numbers, they can form intense and spectacular phosphorescent blooms around beach areas as they become agitated by the turbulent surf.
“They can become extremely common, up to a million critters per milliliter during blooms like you have with the fabulous spectacle happening in Tasmania,” said bioluminescence expert Thomas E. DeCoursey from RushRead More »from How tiny organisms light up seashores with glowing blue waves