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SEA Launching Second Study on Bioluminescence
Bioluminescence Lights Up Night Waters

Bioluminescence

The glowing effect that is illuminated from the bioluminescent bay at the Salt River Bay Watershed is caused by the phenomenon of bioluminescence. Bioluminescence is the production and admission of light by a living organism. This light is generally produced by energy released from chemical reactions inside the organism. Bioluminescence is primarily a marine phenomenon, and is essentially absent in fresh water bodies. Many species use this phenomenon to communicate, while others use it to lure in prey for their next meal or to ward off predators.

The bioluminescence in Salt River Bay is caused by small, single-celled organisms called dinoflagellates. When a particular bay has a very high concentration of these, it is called a phosphorescent bay. It is estimated that there are less than ten places like this in the entire world. While it is not clear on the exact factors that contribute to such an occurrence, but disturbance to the area is likely to have an effect on this rare phenomenon.