Published: Fri, May 11, 2018
Medicine | By Melba Vasquez

TALAT: Surf lights up blue in San Diego

TALAT: Surf lights up blue in San Diego

The last time the shores of San Diego were lit up by a bioluminescence-producing red tide was in 2013.

Bio luminescence Expert Michael Latz says that hasn't happened there in almost five years.

Bioluminescent is seen in the sea waves when an algae bloom is filled with phytoplankton which lights up the micro-organisms that tumble down from waves near the shore.

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Causing a red tide during the day, phytoplankton equipped with their own "sunscreen" gather near the shore at midday to catch more light.

The Birch Aquarium at Scripps now has a display called, "Infinity Cube" which explains the phenomenon.

"This bloom, like many HABs, is caused by microscopic algae that produce toxins that kill fish and make shellfish unsafe to eat".

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A red tide at the San Diego beach was a sight for everyone with photographers being the most benefitted. Other regions, including Puget Sound in the Northwest, experience shellfish toxicity, which Native Americans connected to bioluminescence hundreds of years ago.

Bioluminescence expert Michael Latz, a scientist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, explained the red tide phenomenon.

The current red tide in San Diego is not harmful or toxic, though.

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Latz added that, "We can't predict when these things occur, we don't know how long they will last, when they'll be here, and we really don't understand the dynamics".

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