Mike By: Mike

Red Tide at midnight

Bioluminescent dinoflagellates (Lingulodinium polyedrum) lighting a breaking wave at midnight. The blue light is a result of a luciferase enzyme (like firefly luciferase, but the enzyme in L. polyedrum shares no similarity with that of the firefly enzyme). Under the right conditions, the dinoflagellates become so numerous that the water takes on a muddy reddish color (hence the name "Red Tide"). The bioluminescence is only visible at night. The photo was taken 6/26/2005 with a Canon Rebel XT - 6s, f5.6, ISO 1600, 85mm (135mm equiv).

  • lmcd 9y

    Great shot! This was what I saw but couldn't capture with my camera. :) How amazing it was. I didn't think it would happen again so soon.
  • Rather Anonymous 9y

    This is the single finest example of the phenomenon of red tide bioluminescence captured on film that I am aware of. would you consider possibly changing its copyright to a CC "some rights reserved" designation such that it may be used on the wikipedia ?
  • Mike 9y

    Thanks for asking. I've changed the image license to NonCommerical, NoDerivs. Hopefully that is okay for posting on the Wiki. I also added a second photo from the same night that shows a broad section of the beach and the stars. The photo was also taken with my Canon Rebel XT with the noise reduction function.
  • Rather Anonymous 9y

    great. thanks so much. here is the image for your approval/modification that the correct license is used etc. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Red_tide_bioluminescence_at_m...
  • Tom Harnish 8y

    Damn! I live right up the street and didn't even SEE it, much less photograph it! Absolutely beautiful shot.
  • Lindaaa 8y

    This is one famous photo!
  • Flauto 7y

    Absolutely stunning !! I saw some of this last night and tried to capture it, but nothing came out as good as this ! Saw yours on Wikkpedia !!
  • Amanda 7y

    Just saw this last weekend too! Must be the time of year...

    Mystery Ocean Lights
  • Mike 7y

    Perhaps it has more to do with the water temperature. Where in Mexico did you see it? Do you have any idea what the water temperature was? I'll keep my eyes out for it here in Carlsbad CA, but I'm guessing that we won't see it again until the water is warmer (I took the wave picture at the end of June). I have not seen it since 2005, although I don't frequently drive along the coast at night...
  • rachaeldawn 7y

    These are gorgeous! I'm going to show them to my biology students who will be learning about dinoflagellates this week.

    Thanks for using a license that allows for copying and sharing w/ attribution! :)
  • plant.nerd 7y

    Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Bioluminescence, and we'd love to have this added to the group!
  • Noreen 7y

    great shot!!
    thank you for sharing!
  • Grover Schrayer 7y

    One of the best photos of this I've ever seen....nice job!
  • Anthony Gomez 6y

    Absolutely amazing! Great photo.
  • Torri 5y

    Great capture of color... making a red tide look beautiful!
  • Ricky Qi 4y

    Amazing photo! For dolphins hunting at red tide: www.flickr.com/photos/rickyqi/sets/72157627800982782/
  • mikeSF_ 4y

  • The_Circumference 4y

    Just wanted to let you know that your photo has been featured in a travel article on The Circumference with a link back. You can view the article here:


    Thanks for sharing your fantastic photo!
    - The Circumference
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Taken on June 26, 2005
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