Bioluminescence Phenomenon Hits Local Beaches


From La Jolla to Dana Point surfers and beach lovers have been treated to a pretty cool phenomenon at night... the waves on the beach glowing blue!

Scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego announced that some beaches are experiencing a red tide that is causing bioluminescence. They say:

"The red tide is causing bioluminescent dinoflagellates that, when moved by water or waves, “glow neon blue at night."

Once people heard about the phenomenon they ventured out to beaches at night to check it out and were amazed by what they saw.

Mike Glenn told the O.C. Register that he ventured south from Newport Beach to check it out. 

“It was absolutely amazing. Going down there on an adventure to try and find glowing waves was definitely an experience I don’t think we’ll ever forget. And the reward for that was worth the lack of sleep I got that last night.”

Surfer Paul Torrealba also told the Register that he surfed in the phenomenon once back in 2012 at San Onofre State Beach.  He said:

The silhouette of his board was illuminated by the glow. The drops of ocean water falling from his fingers with every paddle were “lit up like a light bulb,” he recalled.

“It looks like it was blue, but when you’re in the water it’s more like a lime green,” he shared on social media. “It was one of the most exciting surfing experiences I’ve ever had.

Scientists say they're not sure how long the glowing tides will last.  But, according to the O.C. Register.

  • The Birch Aquarium at Scripps has a bioluminescence art exhibit at the Infinity Cube.  Museum tickets are $18.50 for adults and $14 for children. More info: aquarium.ucsd.edu
  • The Ocean Institute in Dana Point hosts bioluminescent cruises regularly, with one scheduled for May 11 and May 12. The cruises show how some marine animals can glow in the dark. The tour explains nocturnal world of marine birds, sea lions, and bioluminescent plankton. Cost is $45 for adults, $25 for children 4-17. More info: ocean-institute.org

CLICK HERE to learn more about the phenomenon. 


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