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Bioluminescent effects from the algae at Torrey Pines State Beach. Bioluminescent dinoflagellates are algae that produce bright blue light when stimulated by movement. Their populations are distributed depending on temperature, salinity, or depth.An algal bloom of dinoflagellates can result in a visible coloration of the water colloquially known as red tide. At night, water can have an appearance of sparkling light due to the bioluminescence of dinoflagellates. More than 18 genera of dinoflagellates are bioluminescent, and the majority of them emit a blue-green light.

Photo credit: Kyle Covey

I’ve had the luck of seeing this in person once on vacation.

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