Bioluminescent Waves Light Up Surf at Monterey Bay

Light-producing plankton illuminated ocean waves in Monterey, California, last week, captured in these videos shared by the Monterey Bay Aquarium, who explained the reason for the blue phenomenon.

“The light is produced by a type of plankton known as dinoflagellates,” the aquarium wrote on Twitter. “Bioluminescence is relatively rare on land – fireflies or glow-in-the-dark mushrooms are some common examples – but it’s a staple in the ocean.”

The video the aquarium posted shows the tiny glowing creatures on Thursday night, August 13.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) found that over 75 percent of species discovered in the deep sea near Monterey Bay are bioluminescent.

“We’re not sure how long the waves will be luminescent – wind and waves and currents could soon dissipate the bloom, returning the beaches to their regular slumber,” the aquarium said on Instagram. “If you’re looking to see the luminescence, be advised! We’re still in a global pandemic: Respect beach closures, keep your distance from other groups and wear your mask.”

Plankton created a similar effect in the Santa Cruz County town of Aptos earlier in August, according to local reports. Credit: Monterey Bay Aquarium via Storyful