Jul 18, 2022
Aurora of the sea luminous plankton light up New Zealand shores
Luminous plankton light up New Zealand shores

Rare phenomenon of bioluminescence is caused by blooms of plankton which glow to evade or distract predatorsOn the shorelines of New Zealand’s north island, shores have been lit up by the glowing “aurora of the sea”: blooms of plankton that glow blue-green after nightfall. The phenomenon is caused by blooms of plankton and phytoplankton species, some of which use the “luminescence” adaptation to evade or distract predators.

Dinoflagellates produce this light when disturbed, and will give a light flash lasting a fraction of a second – disturbing the predator trying to confusee them, they emit a light flash lasting a fraction of a second The glowing waves are common on warm nights and may also occur after days of heavy rain. The phenomenon only occurs at night, as the creatures have an inbuilt biological clock, and do not glow during the daytime even if put into a dark space or container.

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