Saturday, May 17, 2008

Bioluminescent Tides

"Bioluminescent dinoflagellates (Lingulodinium polyedrum) lighting abreaking wave at midnight. The blue light is a result of a luciferase enzyme (like firefly luciferase, but the enzyme in L. polyedrum shares no similarity with that of the firefly enzyme). Under the right conditions, the dinoflagellates become so numerous that the water takes on a muddy reddish color (hence the name "Red Tide"). The bioluminescence is only visible at night. The photo was taken 6/26/2005with a Canon Rebel XT - 6s, f5.6, ISO 1600, 85mm (135mm equiv)."(Images and text from Flickr's msauder. Click to view the rest of his photostream.)

Apparently, "the last sinking of a German U-boat in WWI occurred in 1918, when dinoflagellate bioluminescence revealed its location (Tarasov 1956)."
(Live Marine and Freshwater Phytoplankton)

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