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Posts Tagged ‘glow’

Photo: Stephen Bay  
Bioluminescent waves crashing against rocks at Torrey Pines State Beach in San Diego, Calif., last month.

How I loved the glowing waves we sometimes saw at night in late summer on Fire Island! The microscopic marine organisms that light up when disturbed apparently visit California earlier in the year.

Vanessa Romo writes at National Public Radio, “It took four attempts for Stephen Bay to see the neon blue waves crashing against the rocks at Torrey Pines State Beach in Calif., but when he did, just one thought went through his mind: ‘Holy cow, the waves are glowing!’ …

“A red tide off the San Diego coast is behind the brilliant display of bioluminescence that is lighting up the water and drawing huge crowds to marvel at the rare phenomenon.

“According to Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego, the red tide is due to a cluster of dinoflagellates — microscopic organisms — that live in phytoplankton and light up when there is movement or are disrupted. …

“Bioluminescence expert Michael Latz said that local red tides like the one visible this week from Encinitas to La Jolla — about a 20 mile stretch — ‘have been known since the early 1900s due to observations by Scripps scientists.’ …

“It’s not clear how long the current red tide will last; in some instances they’ve lasted from a week to a month or more. The last red tide in San Diego took place in September 2013 and lasted a full week. A similar event in October 2011 lasted a month. More here.

Swimming in a warm, glowing ocean at night — heavenly. Some red tides are harmful, but NOAA says, “Most blooms, in fact, are beneficial because the tiny plants are food for animals in the ocean. In fact, they are the major source of energy that fuels the ocean food web.”

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If I didn’t know that Finns were good at finding creative solutions to problems, I would think Cara Giaimo was pulling my leg. Belatedly, I give you her Atlas Obscura story about reindeer that glow in the dark.

“If you’re on the lookout for magical reindeer this year, don’t bother gazing skyward — turn your attention to Finland, where local herders are using iridescent antler paint to cut down on deer-car collisions.

“In Finland’s Lapland region, vehicles share space with huge groups of freely roaming reindeer, herded by the Sami people. During the long, dark winter, this coexistence can be dangerous.

” ‘Every year, about 4,000 reindeer are lost on Finnish roads in car accidents,’ explained Juho Tahkola of the Reindeer Herder’s Association in an email. ‘We need to find a way to get these numbers down.’ …

“This year, after spray paint and fur-coating both proved lackluster, they’ve swabbed a test group of antlers with a thick brushing paint.”

More here.

Photo: Reindeer Herders Association
A Finnish reindeer browses “reflectively.” (Wish I could take credit for that bon mot.)

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