San Diego Beach Bioluminescence
Photo credit: Kyle Stock
Incredible photos have surfaced online of the red tide and beautiful bioluminescence phenomenon in San Diego. This mesmerizing blue and neon glow of the tide is created by algae blooms, or better known as red tides, that are filled with phytoplankton called “dinoflagellates.” These tiny organisms react with bioluminescence when ruffled by the moving water. Read more for a video and additional information.

Currently, there’s Lingulodinium polyedra in the water, also known as L .poly. This bioluminescent species is a dinoflagellate producing the red bands that you see in coastal waters. Despite the glow, it’s not recommended that people visit piers or coastal waters to capture the bioluminescence in the tide.

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Where the wave crashes onto the shore, as it rolls over that’s where the turbulence is highest. That’s why those are really bright stripes of light. We don’t know the exact smoking gun yet. It’s a certain set of environmental conditions,” said Clarissa Anderson, of The Scripps Institution of Oceanography.