Red Tide Starry Night

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    This is an image of a Carlsbad, CA beach during the 2005 red tide. The only image manipulation was the Photoshop Auto Levels command. The greenish-blue light is caused by millions (billions?) of microscopic organisms (Lingulodinium polyedrum) that bioluminesce when they are disturbed (as in a breaking wave). The effect is quite dramatic. The organisms also get washed to shore, so when you walk in the sand, your footsteps light up. If you are brave enough to enter the water at night, there will be a glow around you as you swim. Red Tides caused by L. polyedrum are not toxic.

    Andy-Μartin, downthewaterfall, and 21 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    1. testone22 93 months ago | reply

      micro billlions and billions reflected by macro billions and billions. pure magic. thanks so much for sharing this.

    2. javier.izquierdo 92 months ago | reply

      How sweet is this! Please, consider including this great shot in the Microbes in the environment group.

    3. Jen_Mo 85 months ago | reply

      This is so cool. I am planning on going on a kayaking trip in Cocoa Beach, Florida, where this happens. So cool. I cannot wait.

    4. Papa Goiaba 74 months ago | reply

      Hi, I'm an admin for a group called So Damm Lucky - Malditos sortudos, and we'd love to have your photo added to the group.

      Great capture! Thanks for share!

    5. Michael_Field 72 months ago | reply

      Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Water: A California Story, and we'd love to have this added to the group!

    6. Michael_Field 71 months ago | reply


      Congratulations! Your photo has been selected to be on view in the Water: A California Story exhibition at the San Diego Natural History Museum.

      The exhibit will open to the public on July 19th, 2008
      Preview opening reception for Museum Members & exhibition collaborators (that’s you!):

      Friday, July 18, 2008, 6-9 PM
      RSVP to or 619.255.0308 by July 2

      Selected photos will be presented in a digital slideshow in the gallery.

    7. rootcrop54 68 months ago | reply

      What an incredibly gorgeous photograph. I hope I can witness a bioluminescent event one day. Thanks for sharing this!

    8. rootcrop54 68 months ago | reply

      I can't get enough of this one.

      A Big FaveA Big Fave
      You are invited to add this image to
      Please tag this photo with ABigFave when you add it to the pool.

    9. targsys 68 months ago | reply

      I wrote a poem on living lights. This would make a great illustration for it. I am writing a book of nature poems. Is there any way I could get permission to use this pic, of course acknowledging it as comming from you) as an illustration for my poem. I would greatly appreciate your reply.

      Best regards

    10. HikeGuy 31 months ago | reply

      Stunning image -- Thank you! One of the most compelling red tide images I've seen. I've been fascinated with red tides since I was a kid growing up in Santa Cruz.

      I'm including it in my story on the San Diego red tide:

      Thank you for offering this under the Creative Commons license.

      Trent Adams, aka HikeGuy

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