San Diego's Ocean Glows In The Dark!

By Meera Dolasia on October 5, 2011

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The oceans surrounding the coastal city of San Diego, California are known to be warm, crystal clear and . . . . . . . . Bioluminescent? At least that's what they have been for the last few weeks and the residents seem to be enjoying every moment of it.

Unfortunately, the blue electrifying streak that lights up the oceans at night, is not a sign of aliens landing, but a phenomenon called Red Tides, which occurs periodically along the California coast and many other parts of the world, when certain species of a tiny microscopic organism known as phytoplankton, becomes dominant in the ocean. Normally this occurrence is not very noticeable and lasts for a very short period of time. But this year, it has had an extended run of about three weeks and has also been extra visible.

For reasons that are still a mystery to researchers, these tiny organisms do not light up during the day. Instead, they turn the normally pristine blue ocean waters into a very murky red, brown or purple color (hence the name 'Red Tides')!

However at night, these unappealing-looking organisms become magical with their electrifying blue flashes of light that are caused by a chemical reaction when the cells hit against something. What is currently going on in San Diego is millions of them being jostled against each other by the ocean waves, resulting in brilliant flashes of light, which look incredible against the dark skies.

The best part is that they are not terribly toxic, which means that one can actually swim in the glow-in-the-dark waters! If you happen to live in the area, you can combine this great current event article with a show & tell experiment, by collecting some of the ocean water in a jar and demonstrating it in class - Guaranteed to get you an A+! And if you do, be sure to tell us by adding your comments below.

Resources: signonsandiego.com,wikipedia.org

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865 Comments
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  • perryWednesday, December 10, 2014 at 12:36 pm
    So going there, btw
    • bibliophile
      bibliophileSaturday, December 6, 2014 at 7:50 pm
      I want to go there!!!
      • bibliophile
        bibliophileSaturday, December 6, 2014 at 7:50 pm
        COOL!!!!!
        • watup@gmail.comThursday, December 4, 2014 at 11:35 am
          It looks cooler in person I live in san diego and its cool and 100%real
          • sam zy boiWednesday, November 26, 2014 at 2:28 pm
            this is weird is it like a glowing gaint fish under water or is it been edited?
            • BobThursday, November 20, 2014 at 2:58 pm
              So cool
              • loveandhopeWednesday, November 12, 2014 at 7:36 am
                thats cool
                • bhvgvhfkhhhghjgWednesday, October 22, 2014 at 1:34 pm
                  this is so cool
                  • sparkle12
                    sparkle12Thursday, October 16, 2014 at 10:50 am
                    So cool!!!!!!!!!!!! So weird at the same time, it's like it's glow-in-the dark!
                    • boobo
                      booboThursday, October 9, 2014 at 6:45 am
                      omg sooo going there

                      Vocabulary

                      bioluminescentjostledorganismphenomenonphytoplanktonpristine

                      Geography

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