Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

News

Video: Watch A Surfer Ride San Diego's Glow-in-the-Dark, Algae-Infested Blue Waves

Stories like these are only possible with your help!
You have the power to keep local news strong for the coming months. Your financial support today keeps our reporters ready to meet the needs of our city. Thank you for investing in your community.

Algae blooms off the coast of San Diego have been turning waves a rusty red by day and a radiant, bioluminescent blue at night.

Here's the science behind the eerie, glowing waves, according to the Los Angeles Times:

The blue glow is caused by an algae bloom commonly referred to as a red tide. The organisms, phytoplankton called Lingulodinium polyedrum, have bloomed since late August, turning the water brownish-red in the daytime, according to UC San Diego scientists.
The churning of the waves turns the tide a brilliant blue, visible only at night.
It's caused by a chemical reaction on the cellular level, said Peter J. Franks, a Scripps Institution of Oceanography professor who calls the phytoplankton "my favorite dinoflagellate."

A video uploaded to YouTube by user LoghanCall shows the phenomenon, including a shot of a surfer catching one of the waves at twilight:

Support for LAist comes from