Beautiful Glowing Blue Waves Around the World

Blue Waves Around the World

Blue Waves Around the World

Surely you must have seen some of the following pictures floating around the internet at some point, and while you might have been absolutely stunned by their beauty, you probably wondered a few times just what makes these beautiful waters appear so blue and bright. Luckily for your, we’re here to clarify the matter by explaining exactly why and how these amazing phenomena occur. Here are some of the world’s most famous examples regarding the subject:

1. Sea of Stars, Maldives

Sea of Stars, Maldives

The beautiful, blue lights that you can observe in the image are actually generated by a species of phytoplankton named dinoflagellates, which are well known for producing biological light, otherwise known as bioluminescence. Even though the exact workings behind this spectacular display of light has been quite a mystery for some time now, recent studies have revealed that these dinoflagellates have special channels in their cells that respond to electricity.

2. Lights on the Water, Leucadia, California

Lights on the Water, Leucadia, California

Another incredible show of lights caused by dinoflagellates was recorded in California in September 2011. The beautiful blue lights emitted by the bioluminescent phytoplankton contrast nicely with the red tides caused by large-scale algae blooms. The electrical impulses we mentioned before activate a protein named “luciferase” that is found within the body of dinoflagellates, and this protein is the one that causes the blue neon light that we love to admire.

3. Landing Strip, U.S.S. Carl Vinson

Landing Strip, U.S.S. Carl Vinson

In this particular photograph, a US Navy sailor is on duty at the back of the U.S.S. Carl Vinson aircraft carrier and he admires a stunning display of blue light courtesy of some bioluminescent microorganisms. Apart from being pleasing to the eye, these organisms also enable aircraft pilots to find their way back to the ship with great ease.

4. Sparkling Sands, Florida Everglades

Sparkling Sands, Florida Everglades

When microscopic phytoplankton wash ashore, they illuminate the sands with their unique, gorgeous blue light, thus creating spectacular display for those lucky enough to walk on the beach at night. Even though similar organisms can be found in bodies of fresh water, none of these species boasts bioluminescent capabilities, which is another great mystery that scientists are struggling to solve.

5. Red and Blue Tides, California, USA

Red and Blue Tides, California, USA

In order to solve the mystery of bioluminescent phytoplankton and find out the key to their amazing behavior, scientists are forced to think “outside the box”. Some say that the lights emitted by these organisms are actually a defense mechanism of some sort, which allows them to attract the attention of large predators that could fend off a more immediate threat. Furthermore, a series of dinoflagellates are able to produce certain toxins that are bad for humans and sea creatures alike.

6. Glittering Tides, Maldives

Glittering Tides, Maldives

The image depicts bioluminescent phytoplankton riding a wave across a fine sandy beach in the Maldives. Even though these organisms contain a single cell, most of them are definitely large enough to spot with the naked eye.

7. Luminous Tendrills, India

Luminous Tendrills, India

As they wash ashore, glowing phytoplankton give way to amazing blue filaments of light that have the potential to impress deeply. This particular photograph was taken in the Lakshadweep Islands, India. Many marine biologists encourage tourists to walk on the beach at night and admire the sheer beauty of these tendrils whenever they are known to occur.


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