This time, nature pleased locals at a Mexican beach, when the shore lit up with bright blue bioluminescent plankton. Acapulco-residents were fortunate to witness the spectacular show for the first time in more than 60 years.
The bioluminescent blue light show in the waters of Puerto Marques beach is a rare phenomenon and a result of the bioluminescent planktons that caused chemical reactions in the water.
It turned the shoreline shining blue as the waves crashed on the sand. Due to the coronavirus lockdown, the beaches are empty these days, but some managed to capture the magical sight, and images immediately went viral.
Noctiluca scintillans, also known as the sea sparkle, is a free-living, marine-dwelling species of dinoflagellate that, if disturbed, exhibits bioluminescence.
At a Porto Marqués beach, people saw bioluminescent plankton for the first time in over 60 years.
Marine biologist Enrique Ayala Duval explained:
“Bioluminescence is the light produced as a result of a biochemical reaction in which most of the time luciferin [protein], molecular oxygen and ATP [adenosine triphosphate] take part, which react by means of the enzyme luciferase in the following way: oxygen oxidizes luciferin, luciferase accelerates the reaction, and ATP provides the energy for the reaction, producing noticeable water and light at night.”
Ayala Duval added:
“There is a hypothesis that the bioluminescence that exists today is the result of evolution. Initially, when the Earth’s atmosphere had an almost zero concentration of oxygen and oxygen was gradually increasing due to the increasing presence of photosynthetic organisms, organisms were released from oxygen, which was then toxic to them with the bioluminescence reaction producing water.”
When lots of these creatures congregate in one place, the nutrients in the water and other environmental factors cause the blooming.
The marine bacteria are the most common among luminescent organisms under the sea. Yet, bioluminescence is also used as a way to attract prey, find mates, or detect predators by other marine species.