SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA: A dazzling neon blue tide at the San Diego coastline has got people out on the beach snapping the waves.
The electric aqua colors are caused by a tide of blooming algae – by day the plankton turns the water red, but come nightfall they radiate a blue glow when the algae are disturbed by movement, such as waves crashing on to the shoreline.
— Scripps Oceanography (@Scripps_Ocean) May 9, 2018
Bioluminescent light shows are not uncommon globally, but the last red tide in San Diego was in 2013 – and it’s no less beautiful each time they grace the oceans.
The San Diego coast is hosting a red tide, which is a bloom involving these single-cell organisms that can make the water appear red.
The National Ocean Service prefers to call these potentially toxic occurrences “harmful algal blooms.” Scripps says this particular red tide in the San Diego area is not known to be toxic, but some people may be sensitive to contact with it.
The dinoflagellates are a type of marine phytoplankton. You can get a closer look at them through the Scripps Plankton Camera site. “Red tides are unpredictable and not all of them produce bioluminescence,” Scripps notes, saying scientists don’t know how long this particular event will last.
If you live in the area, Scripps says the best time to catch the bioluminescent activity is from a dark beach at least two hours after sunset. If not, you can content yourself with the gorgeous photos of the neon glow.