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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Bioluminescent bloom makes beach a magical minefield

(Image: Doug Perrine/naturepl.com)
Many years ago, when I was working on the R/V Odyssey, I was sitting on the deck listening to the whistle of the bow-riding dolphins. What I saw is deeply etched in my memory - forever. 

It was a pitch-black night, I could make nothing out. I could hear the dolphins whistling and then, whoosh...they were illuminated!! The bioluminescent plankton in the water took the shape of the bow-riding dolphins. It was truly incredible. I remember lying in my bed that night and as the ocean slapped against my port-hole, the 'little stars' in the water did what they could to match those in the sky. Truly beautiful.

What is bioluminescence? The production and emission of light from a living organism.
Here's a great little article from New Scientist that describes what it really does! http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/shortsharpscience/2012/05/bioluminescent-bloom-makes-bea.html

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