Science

[Video] Bioluminescence at California Coast: Glowing Dolphins Spotted! How Much has Nature Changed?

By Urian , Apr 29, 2020 12:01 AM EDT

Nature always has a way to amaze its audience but something very unexpected was recently caught on camera. Amazing footage started to circulate the internet of a pod of dolphins all "glowing" together as they started swimming through bioluminescent algae somewhere off the coast of California.

The photographer of this magical sight was Patrick Coyne, who was able to take this video somewhere off the coast of a place called Newport Beach located in California, described the sight that he saw in person as one amongst the most "magical" nights of his entire life.

The spectacular sight

This particular light show was actually caused by the dolphins interrupting and disturbing some of the more tiny organisms which then create this effect in response to a threat. The photographer was very much inspired to go on a journey and seek out these amazing glimpses of nature after watching dolphins swimming somewhere through bioluminescent waters in a particular program on Netflix.

The program on Netflix then pushed Mr. Coyne to go on an excursion with a simple local tour agency located in Newport Coastal Adventure. According to Mr. Coyne, they were all out for a few hours and only when they were going through their final stretch did two dolphins start to pop up and started to give off the "incredible glowing show."

The two dolphins were only the start as a few minutes later, they were then greeted by even more dolphins which were an amazing sight to see. Even Mr. Coyne said himself that "I'm honestly still processing this all... "

 

The microscopic luminescence

Mr. Coyne admitted that the footage was extremely difficult to collect and challenging to film due to it requiring the perfect conditions as well as the fact that those bioluminescence beings were also very difficult to find and are also very short-lived in nature.

This particular glowing effect has previously been referred to as the "fire of the sea" and is produced by certain microscopic, single-celled organisms that go by the name of dinoflagellates, even more specifically, those that are from the Noctiluca scintillans species.

These microscopic creatures then produce two different chemicals, one being luciferin and the other being luciferase, and enzyme. When all of these are combined, the enzyme acts as a catalyst and makes the luciferin react, which then results in their signature blue flash that actually lasts up to a total of around 100 milliseconds.

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The glowing effect

According to a certain comment by Rebecca Helm, an ecologist of the University of North Carolina, Asheville, when these single-celled algae are startled, they then eject two different chemicals from their own body which then result in visible light.

She also said that this response is well merited especially when these single-celled algae are struck by a dolphin that could even be 100,000 times its own size. The response according to her is well expected but it is also clear that the spectacular light is not an illusion at all.

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