On March 13, beachgoers have greeted the magical sight of the Tasmania’s shore where the island’s northwestern coast twinkled in neon bright light, courtesy of bioluminescent algae.
People walking along the Australian beach captured this exquisite phenomenon on camera, to amaze rest of the world. Leanne Marshall, a photographer for the Australian Marine Stinger Advisory Services in Launceston, revealed stunning images on social media displaying the area near Rocky Cape National Park.
Another amazing scenery was also noticed 50 km to the east, at Preservation Bay. People were able to observe the aquatic “light show” whenever waves or currents entered the plankton.
Researchers said that the colorful event is the work of Noctiluca scintillans, known as “sea sparkle” which are single-celled bioluminescent plankton. In the daytime, this type of algae colors the water in deep red, brown, or orange hues, a phenomenon tagged as “red tide,” which changes its color to blue at night.
The University of Tasmania says that the blue luminous appearance does not pose any threat to human viewers, but says that the Noctiluca’s high ammonia content might annoy the fish species, broadly known to avoid the areas where the algae bloom.
Indication Of Climate Change
These colorful algae are not new to Tasmania’s shores. Their bloom has been reported many times since the last two decades. The studies hint that their count is increasing rapidly due to global warming.
“Noctiluca algae is also a type of plankton known as dinoflagellates, which flourish in temperate weather conditions. The algae need warmer water and a stable water column to prosper. This can only happen with a climate change,” as said by Anthony Richardson, from Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization.
He says that the abrupt bloom of such algae everywhere in the world is triggered by the warming trend and increase in the ocean stratification which cause problem for local ecosystems.