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the day the red algae came to the bay by aglaia b

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the day the red algae came to the bay by 

for the very lovely and talented artist Helen Chierego

In the summer of 2000, sudden summer storms washed large amounts of nutrients into Port Phillip Bay. These nutrients caused blooms of microscopic algae called dinoflagellates. The increased nutrients and warm water meant that these planktonic organisms may be present in sufficient numbers to colour the water. This happened late in November and the eastern shores of Port Phillip Bay were stained red by an algal bloom.
Although the dinoflagellates were apparently not toxic, they were able to glow in the dark. During this phenomenon, many locals would arrive on the beach shores at night, pick up a hand full of sand and throw it into the sea to see it glow in the dark.

Bioluminescence is simply light produced by a chemical reaction which originates in an organism.
Bioluminescence is a primarily marine phenomenon. It is the predominant source of light in the largest fraction of the habitable volume of the earth, the deep ocean.
Bioluminescent bacteria occur nearly everywhere, and probably most spectacularly as the rare “milky sea” phenomenon, particularly in the Indian Ocean where mariners report steaming for hours through a sea glowing with a soft white light as far as the eye can see.


  • theyellowfury
    theyellowfuryover 6 years ago

    I’ve seen it before. It’s called red tide here.

  • © Helen Chierego
    © Helen Chieregoover 6 years ago

    Aglaia b thank you for the ‘glow in the dark ’ red algae image. It’s no longer a mystery with your explanation. I love the latin names for this phenomena : ’dinoflagellates and bioluminescence. Sounds like something that would roll off the tongue of a temple godess in times past. I can see a Port Phillip Bay and surrounds exhibition coming on…xxxooo

  • shapiro
    shapiroover 6 years ago

    Aglaia this a beautiful photograph and it’s wonderful that you’ve dedicated it to such a wonderful lady like Helen! Well done!Sx

  • Steve Chapple
    Steve Chappleover 6 years ago

    Stunning colours here. Thanks for sharing the story!

  • flower68
    flower68over 6 years ago

    Cool biology lesson!. I used to see phosphorous glowing on the beaches at night(I’m confused that’s what I was told it was maybe it was this bacteria?) at the Sunshine Coast years ago.It’s just beautiful.No red stuff though.great photograph of it.

  • Phineous "Flash"   Cassidy
    Phineous "Flas...over 6 years ago

    ooooowa dont think id be eatin any fish from that bay but nice shot

  • Barssel
    Barsselover 6 years ago

    Great capture………………….

  • ltruskett
    ltruskettover 6 years ago

    Fantastic work.

  • Antanas
    Antanasover 6 years ago

    amazing view again

  • Maureen Bloesch
    Maureen Bloeschover 6 years ago

    I’ve red that the red tide, takes away the oxygen from the fish…
    great shot:>)

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