Waves that Glow

April 11, 2006

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Provided by: Kevin McCoy
Summary authors & editors: Kevin McCoy

This past summer, Southern California experienced a long duration of sunny, calm weather, smooth seas and relatively warm ocean water, which resulted in multiple algae blooms. The glowing waves seen in this photo are caused by extremely high concentrations of bioluminescent dinoflagellates that color the water a rusty red color in the daytime, and flash green when they're agitated at night. High amount of algae can cause jellyfish to die off and lead to harmful levels of toxins in filter feeders and other fish. La Jolla cove is seen in the background.

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