Tag Archive: bioluminescence

Last night our bioluminescence paddle was so incredible that we added more dates for September! Water was glowing and sparkling with each stroke of the kayak blade…erie, cool and memorable with marine mammals coming in close for a better look at us! Join us at http://www.bluewaterventures.org!



Another magical night in Elkhorn Slough with a great group of home schooled seniors with http://www.bluewaterventures.org

On moonless summer ~fall nights as the dusk or crepuscular feeders are finishing up a meal, the light show produced by bioluminescence dinoflagellates is about to unfold. One such algae is Noctiluca scintilllians and our plankton tow from last night may reveal this species or others. Noctiluca is a bioluminescent dinoflagellate capable of generating light. A variety of marine species exhibit bioluminescent properties, a chemical reaction between the compound luciferin and the enzyme luciferase. Bacteria within the species may also produce cold light.

Marine species have bioluminescence qualities for a variety of reasons. They may flash a particular pattern of light to attract a mate or to startle a predator. Other species may have bioluminescence to lure a curious yet unsuspecting prey towards them providing an easy meal. While a single dinoflagellate may only have a diameter of .5mm, collectively they can produce an impressive amount of “sea sparkle” in the water column.




Bioluminescence Night Kayaking

tumblr_lb8aepifVZ1qda2n5o1_1280Last night we had an amazing light show during our first of several bioluminescence night paddles in Elkhorn Slough. Before the water began to sparkle with light producing dinoflagellates, sea otters and harbor seals popped up near by. Marine mammal interactions are quite different at night. Many species produced a “cold light”, a chemical reaction that emits sparks of light. Bioluminescence may serve as a warning, a lure, communication or mate selection. As our paddles glided through the water, light exploded below us, light dripping from the paddles.

We’ve added 2 more Bioluminescence night paddles, Sept 12th and 13th. We hope teachers will bring their students as well booking a school field trip during September and early October. Details at:www.bluewaterventures.org. Photos from internet, my water camera is in repair!