Southern California has been treated to a bioluminescent light show this spring with waves of electric blue on the region’s coastline. The photos below capture some of the natural phenomenon in Playa Del Rey, Manhattan Beach, San Clemente, Hermosa Beach and other locations.
Bioluminescence is a biochemical emission of light by organisms. The chemical reactions within those organisms, like marine algae and fireflies, give them a sparkle.
Most types of animals include some bioluminescent members, according to NOAA. It’s typically used to warn predators, lure and find prey, and to communicate with other members of the species.
The phenomenon is associated with a red tide, or an algae bloom. During the daytime, due to the pigmentation of the dinoflagellates, the water can turn a deep red, brown, or orange color, giving red tides their name.