Fluorecent stuff on beach

Mitchell Isaacs misaacs at dontspamme.student.usyd.edu.au
Mon Aug 5 01:35:23 EST 2002

"Sverre Ulland" <saugull at online.no> wrote in
news:YcE29.980$0p1.10183 at news2.ulv.nextra.no: 

> Hello there
> Tonight i was down at the beach for a walk. It was 0:00 at night, and
> pretty dark. I was walking down by the sea, occasionally getting my
> feet wet. After a while i noticed a certain glow in the sand i kicked
> in front of me. There were tiny speckles of greenish light which
> quickly disappeared. Soon afterwards, i saw that the same greenish
> dots were in the water too, at the very front of the small waves
> breaking in on the shore (quiet night, calm sea). What are those? My
> immedeate thought was that they were fluorecent bacterea, but I am not
> quite sure. Any thoughts are welcome. 

These are mostl likely a type of dinoflagellate - a single-celled type of 
algae. These are well known to glow in water when disturbed by physical 

They also bioluminesce when they encounter acidic conditions.

See http://siobiolum.ucsd.edu/Dino_bl.html for some more info.

I'm a kayaker - and often train in a tidal inlet at night near Sydney, 
Australia - when I paddle through the water it often looks like a shower of 
green sparks.


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