The Student News Site of Foothill Technology High School

The Foothill Dragon Press

The Student News Site of Foothill Technology High School

The Foothill Dragon Press

The Student News Site of Foothill Technology High School

The Foothill Dragon Press

Follow Us On Instagram!

Bioluminescence: Wonders of the bright blue ocean

Karli Riehle
Also referred to as a red tide or an algae bloom, the brilliant blue waves are caused by phytoplankton that emit blue light when disturbed. In previous years the event has been rare to find, occurring sparsely. Recently, primarily during the summer of 2023, bioluminescent waves could be seen splashing the shores of Ventura County.

In the small beach town of Ventura, Calif., residents in the past have been drawn to see bright blue lightwork in the ocean during the night hours. Throughout California, waves have been crashing with color, displaying one of the many beauties of nature in play, bioluminescence.

The locations where bioluminescence shows up varies based on currents. Time frames usually start in May or June, and can last up until July or September. Although sometimes, bioluminescence doesn’t show up at all, this year there has been a buzz through the media as individuals have been lining up on the beach to see this beautiful natural color.

After southern California’s multitude of earthquakes and Hurricane Hillary, the strength from currents seemed to have brought us a beautiful outcome, the coming and going of a massive algae bloom. As of recently, bioluminescent waves have been spotted in Malibu, Laguna, Newport and Huntington Beaches, as well as beaches around San Diego. As for Ventura, there was bioluminescence in August for a short amount of time, but now there is little to no blue tint in the crashing waves.

Bioluminescence comes from the chemicals luciferin and luciferase which naturally produce light. These chemicals are found in various sea animals such as fish, squid, crustaceans and algae, and are meant to confuse predators, as well as attract prey or a mate. As of now, bioluminescence comes from a large algae bloom.

Like stars, these bioluminescent waves are easier to spot in complete darkness. If there is outside light from a house or another source, the waves will not be as visible. So, if you’re on the hunt, it is recommended to go to a dark beach anytime between nine p.m. and four a.m. for the best view.

Other than waves, people have experienced the blue water in various ways. Grabbing kayaks, paddle boards and boats, in years past residents of Ventura county have experienced the water side by side as they paddle through it, being able to see the bright blue sea creatures below. As Ventura is notorious for being a surf town, individuals have also been spotted surfing through the bright bioluminescent waves, an experience of a lifetime.

Ventura residents are eager to see bioluminescence again, as the last full blue wave was a few years ago. With high hopes, Ventura is hoping to see a bit of color in the water in years to follow. Maybe with hope and a bit of luck, the beautiful bright blue water will come back next year. Until then, everyone will just have to wait and see.

What do you think?
Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributors
Nisha Reddy
Nisha Reddy, Communications Director
Fear my D.
Karli Riehle
Karli Riehle, Illustrator
A first-year illustrator, obsessed with dragons and doodling.

Comments (0)

Comments on articles are screened and those determined by editors to be crude, overly mean-spirited or that serve primarily as personal attacks will not be approved. The Editorial Review Board, made up of 11 student editors and a faculty adviser, make decisions on content.
All The Foothill Dragon Press Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *