What Pulled the Plug on the Bioluminescent Bay?

9:12 minutes

Puerto Rico is home to three bioluminescent bays. This fall, one of the bays temporarily lost its glow. Marine biologist Edith Widder discusses the biology of the bays and what might have caused the water to go dark.

The video below reveals bioluminescence in action as barnacles feed on bioluminescent dinoflagellates. The dinoflagellates produce flashes of light when they encounter a shear stress sufficient to deflect their cell membrane, which initiates an action potential that triggers the light-producing chemical reaction.

Segment Guests

Edith Widder

Edith Widder is CEO and senior scientist at the Ocean Research & Conservation Association, Inc. in Fort Pierce, Florida.

Meet the Producer

About Alexa Lim

Alexa Lim is Science Friday’s associate producer. Her favorite stories involve space, sound, and strange animal discoveries.