Tag Archives: plankton

Did You Know {10} ~ Bioluminescent Shores

Constellations of electric blue lights wash along the shores of Vaadhoo Island in the Maldives. Known as bioluminescence, this biological light is produced by marine microorganisms called phytoplankton, which illuminate beaches around the world. The fairy-tale display happens when a pigment called luciferin reacts with oxygen, while an enzyme called luciferase speeds up the process. But what looks like an enchanting spectacle may actually be a harrowing escape attempt. Phytoplankton often use bioluminescence as a defense mechanism. The light distracts predators by disrupting their swimming behavior and may lure animals that feed on them.